The Enterprise Impact of the Flash Shortage

In our recent webinar, “Overcoming the Flash Shortage of 2021”, StorONE and Seagate detailed the enterprise impact of the flash shortage. Experts expect the scarcity of flash media to last well into 2022. However, IT professionals can overcome the flash shortage by using a next generation hybrid storage system combined with a different storage strategy.

Next Generation Hybrid Storage Addresses Previous Shortcomings

StorONE spent our first eight years completely refactoring the storage algorithms and flattening out the legacy Storage IO Stack. A next generation hybrid storage system, powered by the modern StorONE Enterprise Storage System Platform, can fully leverage all the available features of modern storage, providing a better alternative than all-flash arrays while overcoming the concerns IT professionals have with legacy hybrid storage systems.

To eliminate legacy hybrid concerns a next-generation solution must deliver:

  • Maximum performance from a minimum number of flash drives
  • 90%+ Capacity Utilization from both flash and hard disk tiers
  • Ability to automatically tier older data to less expensive HDD storage
  • Future Flexibility

Now let’s examine these points in more detail.

Obtaining Maximum Performance from a Minimum Number of Flash Drives

Legacy storage systems are only able to use approximately 10% of the manufacturers rated performance. The primary cause? Their dependence on a decades old storage IO stack. The poor per drive performance, means these vendors need more flash drives to maintain a high performance level. But next generation hybrid systems, because of their advanced platform software, can run the flash tier at 85% of the manufacturers rated performance. As a result, next generation hybrid systems require far fewer flash drives than legacy systems to produce a better level of performance. The StorONE platform can deliver 500K+ IOPS (without a write cache), from as few as 14 drives. Most legacy systems would need approximately 48 drives to provide this level of performance. In hybrid systems you are trying to keep flash drive count to a minimum to save cost (or deal with drive shortages), if you can get more performance from less drives you can achieve the goal without impacting application performance.

90%+ Capacity Utilization from both flash and hard drive tiers

The problem with legacy storage software is that system performance is impacted once utilization reaches approximately 50% of capacity. The end result is the customer needs to over purchase capacity in order to maintain performance. Once again, the inefficiency of the legacy storage IO stack haunts other vendors. They don’t own how data is mapped to the available devices and are at the mercy of the legacy stack.  StorONE has a single layer that IO navigates much faster and we own how data is laid out on drives and managed efficiently. We have many production customers that are running at 90% utilization and not suffering from any performance impact.

Ability to Automatically Tier Older Data to Less Expensive HDD Tiers

Approximately 95% of data stored on the typical all-flash array is older, “cold” data that is accessed infrequently or not at all. This cold data is consuming expensive primary storage and forcing customers to purchase additional storage simply because they do not have an efficient means to identify and move it to less expensive hard disk drive (HDD) tiers. Some vendors have even labeled the concept of tiering as “evil.” Tiering is only “evil” if you don’t know how to manage the process.  

There are a few, hybrid vendors left on the market by they suffer from the same inefficient storage IO stack and can’t extract the performance or utilize the capacity of modern hardware. The StorONE Enterprise Storage Platform, on the other hand, provides intelligent, automatic, tiering which automatically identifies “cold” data and moves it from expensive primary storage to other less expensive HHD tiers. This process frees up primary flash storage capacity and forestalls the need to buy additional flash storage, which you may not be able to get anyway. As we discuss in our white paper, “The Hard Drive Conspiracy” while flash vendors may claim to have reached price parity with hard disk drives, the truth is 2PB of hard disk is greater than 10X less expensive than 2PB of flash. 

Future Flexibility

With its modular Enterprise Storage Platform approach, StorONE ensures our ability to continue to incorporate and take full advantage of new technologies as they come to market. Our vRAID technology which delivers the fastest hard disk rebuilds in the industry, can also mix and match drives of various sizes, yet use their drives to their fullest capacity. You can start with 16TB hard disk drives today then in a year expand in minutes with 22TB drives and enjoy all the capacity of the newer drives. StorONE is ready for any changes to storage networking, storage controller motherboards and storage media.


From twelve flash drives, StorONE can deliver 183TB of capacity and 600K+ IOPS and very low latencies. The HDD tier can support almost 2PB of capacity in 4U. And both tiers can expand to double digit PBs in minutes.  When combined with the efficiencies and advanced features in the StorONE Enterprise Storage Platform, you can support all of your organization’s workloads with a hybrid storage system that is a fraction of the cost of our competitors’ systems. We can demonstrate the solution right now, just click to sign up for a one-on-one demonstration of the solution.

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Joseph Ortiz

Joseph is a Technical Writer with StorONE, Inc. and an IT veteran with over 40 years of experience in the high tech industries. He has held senior technical positions with several major OEMs, VARs, and System Integrators, providing them with technical pre and post-sales support for a wide variety of data protection and storage solutions. As part of his duties, he designed, implemented and supported backup, recovery and encryption solutions in addition to providing Disaster Recovery planning, testing and data loss risk assessments in distributed computing environments on UNIX and Windows platforms for various OEM's, VARs and System Integrators. He also recently served as an analyst and provided editing services as well as technical content for Storage Switzerland up to the time of its acquisition by StorONE.

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