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Taneja Blog / Primary Storage

Large Capacity SSDs will be the tipping point for the all flash data center

To read Taneja Group's opinion on HPE's 3PAR StoreServ AFA click here

The massive 15.36 TB drives that were first announced at last year’s Flash Memory Summit are now showing up in All Flash Arrays (AFAs). Both NetApp and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have introduced these drives into their respective flagship AFAs.

By the end of 2014, SSD capacities within 2.5” enterprise drive form factor had grown to be roughly equal to counterpart HDD capacities. Now, they’re starting to exceed HDD capacities everywhere along the curve including even 3.5” capacity oriented HDDs. The figure below demonstrates this trend dramatically by comparing the historical introduction date of new enterprise drive capacities as they been released for HPE 3PAR arrays. Array vendors will differ in calendar time when they release a new generation of drive. We have found that HPE 3PAR often leads in time-to-market for new drive capacities so this historical roadmap is very representative as to why there is a dramatic shift to AFAs in the industry growing ~100% per year. In 2016 we expect the cost/GB argument for purchasing any fast spinning HDD to be permanently erased when considering the positive effects of capacity optimization techniques (deduplication and compression) prevalent on SSDs but not practical for Tier 1 workloads on HDDs.


With the availability of these new, higher capacity SSDs to populate them, AFAs will take over ALL mission-critical workloads in the data center and it will happen sooner than anyone currently expects. The cost/GB of an AFA is already close to that of HDD-based arrays, given all of the other savings and the massive performance advantages, the only possible place left for HDD-based arrays for the next few years will be tier 2 and 3 workloads, such as big data analytics, archiving and backup, where the large form-factor lowest cost HDDs might still be productively used. In the next few years we will look back at 2016 as the year that fast spinning hard drives met their full demise.


For more information on this topic: 

HPE SSD Opinion

HPE press release

NetApp press release


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