How Flash Is Transforming The Enterprise

Source: SanDisk Corporation
Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson

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Ken Oberman, Vice President of Worldwide Commercial Business Channel Marketing, SanDisk explains the impact of flash on the industry and questions VARs should ask when their customers are considering flash-based solutions.

Q: How has flash-based storage made an impact on the industry?

Oberman: When you look at the impact that flash has made in the industry it’s remarkable. Flash storage today is at the heart of the digital world — whether you look at mobile, computing, or consumer electronics. We recently marked the 26-year anniversary of the invention of flash storage, as well as SanDisk’s own 26th anniversary as a leader and technology innovator in this highly impactful technology. During this time, SanDisk has helped reduce the cost of flash by 50,000 times while helping increase capacity by 30,000 times. This, combined with innovations pertaining to the creation and introduction of new form factors, has enabled us to expand the possibilities of storage. Flash storage can be now found in many of the world's largest data centers, in products from top electronics companies and at hundreds of thousands retail stores across the globe.

A segment where we are seeing significant growth are SSDs. Flash-based SSDs have already had a major impact on the laptop market. And, as enterprises and datacenters increasingly look for ways to reduce costs while improving their abilities to provide fast access to critical information, SSDs are playing an expanding role in meeting these needs.

Q: Can you briefly highlight the differences between flash-based solutions and hard disk drives?

Oberman: Flash-based solid-state drives — or SSDs — are rapidly transforming the enterprise. They offer significant performance advantages, whether they are used in a corporate laptop or enabling the data center.

For the user moving from a laptop with a HDD to a laptop with an SSD, the difference is staggering. Notebooks with SSD boot up and shut down more quickly, application and OS performance is dramatically faster, and battery life is enhanced, particularly with SSDs that feature DEVSLP (device sleep), such as the SanDisk X300s. While it makes for a more enjoyable performance for users, CIOs that upgrade their inventory of laptops with SSDs also benefit by improving laptop performance, lower IT costs, extend the lifecycle of the laptop, and enhancing employee productivity.

When you bring SSDs into a data center environment, the benefits are equally impressive.  Enterprise companies and datacenters are increasingly turning to flash-based solutions to for their multiple performance and reliability benefits, from providing tiering performance advantages and lower latency, to significant total cost of ownership (TCO) savings. Solid-state solutions can provide faster access to critical information, and bring predictable performance for even the most data-intensive, mission-critical applications.

SanDisk is well-positioned to meet this growing demand and currently offers a full-portfolio of both hardware and software products that provide sustained predictable performance for enterprise applications, delivering the ideal combination of speed, reliability and cost-savings.

Q: For which applications is flash-based storage the best choice?

Oberman: Ever since SanDisk invented the first flash-based SSD around 20 years ago, flash has made a big impact on the computing industry. SSDs enhance the speed, reliability, and performance of a computing device, whether a user is simply running everyday business applications or needs to bring more responsiveness to sophisticated and robust applications. The substantial performance, reliability, and cost savings that SSDs offer is increasingly driving adoption of SSDs in the corporate environment, as well as in vertical segments such as education and healthcare.

In the data center, flash storage can significantly improved IOPS (input/output operations per second) performance, lower power consumption and heat emission, as well as lower latency. While there are different flash storage solutions that can notably enhance a wide range of enterprise needs and environments, the benefits are particularly compelling for today’s read/write intensive applications, such as Big Data analytics, high frequency trading, cloud computing, VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), virtualization, and others.                                                                  

Q: What questions should VARs ask to help their customers decide?

Oberman: Understanding a customer’s current computing needs, as well their needs in the future is critically important in order to best recommend a solution that can benefit them today as well as continue to meet their needs over time. VARs should gather as much information as possible about the customer’s application usage and data storage and transfer needs, as well as details about the host device, such as the age of the notebooks and the operating system used. Understanding a customer’s needs to protect their data through security or encryption is also important.