Use Next-Generation Hybrid to Overcome the Flash Shortage

While most experts expect it to prolong well into 2022, IT professionals can use next-generation hybrid to overcome the flash shortage the industry is experiencing. The perfect storm of COVID shutdowns and increased demand are causing the flash shortage. As a result, the logic of selecting an all-flash array instead of a hybrid array is even more questionable than ever. Legacy hybrid storage won’t make the grade—a next-generation hybrid storage system is now the key to continuing to improve IT operations during this crisis. 

A next-generation hybrid storage system must deliver:

  • Maximum performance from a minimum number of flash drives
  • 90%+ Capacity Utilization from both flash and hard disk tiers
  • Sub-Two hour recovery of failed high-density hard disk
  • 100% Ransomware Recovery
  • Future Flexibility

In our recent webinar, “Overcoming the Flash Shortage of 2021”, Seagate and StorONE detailed the cause and impact of the current flash shortage. While hybrid has always had a price advantage over all-flash arrays (AFA), it now enjoys an even more significant price advantage and is a much more available solution. IT professional’s concerns about hybrid storage, planted mainly by all-flash array marketing engines, can be overcome with a next-generation hybrid storage system powered by a modern storage system platform designed to leverage all modern storage media’s full potential networking technology.

The Flash Shortage

Before COVID-19, the flash industry was barely keeping pace with demand. When COVID-19 hit, most production facilities were shut down for months. When they were finally able to resume operations, they were severely limited by occupancy limitations and social distancing requirements, which effectively limited the number of personnel they could use to resume production. Additional outbreaks of the disease further impacted their staffing levels and further reduced their output capacity. But demand for flash kept increasing, spurred on by events like the rise in cryptocurrency mining.

The result is flash prices are increasing 20-30% per quarter, and availability is slipping to 12 weeks or longer. Flash industry estimates are that the situation will not improve until sometime in 2022. Additionally, turning to the cloud will provide only limited relief because cloud providers are at capacity on their flash tiers.

How to Survive the Flash Shortage

IT departments will need to rethink their storage strategy and maximize what they have to survive the flash shortage. An obvious first step is to cut flash usage by using it only for the active data set. Too much “cold” data resides on primary flash storage in most data centers today. Another step is to direct less performance-sensitive workloads and “cold” data to hard disk drive tiers. Moving data to the hard disk frees up space on primary flash storage and delay the need to purchase more, which given the flash supply problem, may save you a lot of dollars.

In short, IT needs to consider transitioning from AFAs to next-generation hybrid arrays. Its concerns about the limitations of legacy hybrid arrays are no longer an issue when you deploy a second-generation hybrid array, like the Seagate Exos AP 5U84, which is designed to eliminate those previous limitations of inconsistent performance and slow RAID rebuild times as well as flash capacity issues. Legacy arrays are powered by obsolete storage algorithms and an equally obsolete IO Stack that are all well over 20+ years old.

Addressing Hybrid Array Concerns

As stated previously, legacy storage systems use 20+-year-old obsolete storage software that cannot access nor leverage the advanced features found in modern storage media and modern networking hardware. In addition, legacy hybrid solutions are particularly vulnerable to the overhead of using legacy storage software because they can’t hide behind overprovisioned flash pools. And, now neither can all-flash arrays because you can’t afford or even get flash drives.

The modern data center, dealing with, among other things, a shortage of flash media requires a new generation of hybrid storage that can deliver a minimum total cost of ownership. Furthermore, it must deliver maximum performance from minimal physical devices while also providing unmatched data protection to keep you safe from Ransomware. Lastly, it must provide optimal workload placement so that your applications get the individual performance and protection they need while also helping you maintain that low TCO.


The StorONE Storage Engine combined with the advanced, high-density design of Seagate’s Exos AP 5U84 provides a next-generation hybrid storage system that is less expensive than similar configurations from other vendors that provides superior performance and data protection. It also effectively mitigates the flash shortage issue since it can delay the need for an organization to purchase additional AFAs. Organizations dealing with flash shortages and escalating storage system total cost of ownership issues should seriously consider this 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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