SSDs in arrays: the Pure Storage view

Post by Robin Harris (thank you) around Pure Storage

Pure’s Matt Kixmoeller saw the Are SSD-based arrays a bad idea post and, unsurprisingly, responded. The SSD is Key to Economic Flash Arrays is a good post and I urge interested readers to check it out.

Pure has a stellar team with deep experience. Their views are worth considering.

As Matt notes:

This post caught our eye for an obvious reason: Pure Storage did start “fresh” to build an all-flash enterprise storage array, and we did decide to use the SSD form factor, after quite exhaustive looks at all the other options. Quite simply, we found that SSDs are the most efficient and economic building blocks from which to build a flash array. Let’s explore why.

After dismissing disk arrays that add flash drives – as I do – Matt focuses on (1) all flash appliances built from raw NAND and (2) flash arrays using flash SSDs.

SSDs are most efficient
Matt argues that SSD-based arrays have 3 key advantages:

  • Economics. SSDs are a commodity product that raw flash arrays will have a hard time out-engineering.
  • Flash controller complexity. Matt notes, correctly, that the flash controller is at the heart of argument. Better to use a controller that goes into millions of SSDs or one purpose-built for a single vendor’s array? How will the single vendor be able to keep up?
  • Servicability. Pure’s use of SSDs enables them to offer a familiar hot-swap experience that higher density designs may not offer. Futhermore, Pure’s data reduction features increase effective density to rival raw flash designs.

In conclusion, Matt makes a couple of more points. First, that SSD form factors will become much more compact, such as Apple’s DIMM-like mini-SATA SSD used in the MacBook Air. Second, that the proof is in the pudding: Pure, he says, has “. . . delivered with break-through performance, at a cost below traditional spinning disk.”

Read on here

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