As an IT planner, every so often, you might wonder how a particular workload might perform on an all-flash array instead of the current hard disk-based or hybrid storage system.
The problem is how to know if, or how much of a performance difference, that all-flash array might make. Sure, you can look at vendor performance claims, and try to correlate benchmarks, but how do you know, for your specific workload, that it is worth investing in an all-flash array?
Don’t Trust, Test
The reality is until you get an all-flash array installed and implemented in your data center, you don’t know, and that means making a substantial upfront investment with no assurance of results. The all-flash vendor might, but probably won't commit to some performance guarantees. Even if they do, vendors typically only cover the performance of their array, not on how well your application is crafted to take advantage of all-flash.
Test, but Can You Trust Your Test?
Another route is, of course, to evaluate an all-flash array from a vendor or two. Vendors, though, are increasingly strict in how long evaluations can run and under what circumstances they will place a unit in your data center. Returning a system after an unsuccessful assessment, especially if no one is at fault is complicated. Another challenge with evaluations is that, in most cases, it is just a simulation of the production environment. The full system typically can’t be brought into production. Also, assuming the typical thirty-day evaluation, how much testing can you get done? After all, the IT staff still has to complete their “normal” job in addition to running the review.
Testing with the Cloud?
Moving the application to the cloud is another option, but it also has unique challenges. First, will you migrate the application to the cloud in its entirety or only use the cloud as a test environment? If you are moving the application to the cloud, is the organization comfortable with that application's data being in the cloud and with the potential security risks? If you are only going to use the cloud as a test environment, how well will that environment translate to the on-premises use case? There are so many new variables in your cloud test environment; computing is different, networking is different, and the storage hardware and software are different.
Subscribe and Save!
The good news is IT planners now have a fourth option, All-Flash Array as a Service (AFAaaS). Instead of paying upfront for an all-flash array, hoping you can create the perfect evaluation environment or putting all your assets in the cloud, subscribe to AFAaaS. Our service provides an on-premises all-flash array for a monthly price with no long term commitments. The AFAaaS solution offers high performance, up to 500k IOPS, and 100TB or more of capacity at a per IOPS per GB price.
AFAaaS means that for less than $1,000 per month, you can put an all-flash array in your data center for as long (or as briefly) as you need. You can start by testing the first application on the system. If that goes well, make AFAaaS production storage for the application. If at some point you decide that the application is not performing as well as you expected, cancel the subscription.
We think though, once you get comfortable with our S1 software and its easy to use GUI, you’ll want to add even more applications to it. The service not only provides all the enterprise storage features you’d expect but improves on them. With S1, you can take unlimited snapshots, and retain them for as long as you need, without impacting performance. Another example of where S1 improves on enterprise storage features is our data protection capabilities. Instead of traditional RAID, which wastes expensive flash capacity and is slow to recover from a drive failure, our advanced erasure coding uses minimal extra drive capacity and provides rapid drive rebuilds.
As you experience the high performance and feature richness of the service, you'll find that AFAaaS helps with expansion too. You can gradually move applications to the service as it makes sense, and as you have time. Your monthly cost goes up slowly as you drive more workloads to the service.
Sound too good to be true? That’s the best part, try our service out and find out for yourself with no upfront risk. Click here to speak to an expert.
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