Australian Insurance Company realises that FLASH is the new DISK!

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand.

A large insurance company in Australia is replacing a popular unified storage system with VNX as their average utilisation was 30%, and could not be improved! In the past I’ve been critical of vendors who’s systems do not provide a very good conversion of RAW to USABLE! The engineering decisions made traded off capacity utilisation for other features or functions. However that is not the case here!!

In this case the reason the drives could not be completely utilised was performance! This particular vendor has not evolved their architecture and hence has to use striping to beef up performance.  The I/O requirements meant that they had to size the array on the number of spindles resulting in a massive cost per Byte stored.

I’m not here to pick on this particular vendor but to highlight how important this transition issue is and why FLASH is critical to your future. Moore’s law means that every 18 months the CPU’s double in performance. This means that you need to provide twice the I/O capability to balance the compute model. In the old world, that meant you need to double the number of spindles every 18months, or you waste the computing power.

If you do the maths, today the average server needs 3912 drives to meet the potential demand. (I know I will get arguments about cache etc..) That is lots and the cause of this 30% problem today, the kicker is in five years’ time, you will need over 40 thousand drives per server!!   The old model is broken!!

Hence when you look under the covers of the VNX you discover the multiple dimensions of scaling that are available to support this rapid evolution into a FLASH rich storage array.  So in summary.. it does seem like FLASH is the new disk… and if you speak to us about protecting your data you soon realise that Disk is the new Tape!!


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