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Modernize your data center with IBM Flash

Servers, Storage and Networking | Posted on March 20, 2018 by Arun Kirupananthan

Data centers everywhere are facing the same issue: disk drives are slow. Basically, everything is getting faster, except traditional disk storage. It’s bound by the laws of physics. It’s just not going to get better. Meanwhile, data keeps accumulating, and customers demand speed. So, that poses a question. How can you best improve data center performance with limited resources? How can you get the best return on storage investment?

More than ever, the answer is flash. Previously, flash was very expensive, and not fully compatible with legacy storage architecture. But it is getting less expensive. And more importantly, it has become a lot more flexible. Thanks to the flexibility of IBM’s Flash family, you can reap massive performance gains without ripping and replacing everything.

In our recent webinar, we show how you could benefit from IBM Flash. We also share some real-life improvements our clients are experiencing by adding IBM flash to their data centers. Click here and find out more:

Don’t Settle for Bad Performance Migration Tactics

There are many strategies for managing the performance gap created by slow storage. Some of them aren’t so great.

The most common solution is to buy more disks. Throw more disks at the problem. And, while this is sometimes effective in the short run, it’s also expensive, and not very scalable. Meanwhile, HDD Performance Enhancement is wasteful and ineffective for storage latency issues. And adding more CPUs is much the same: it’s pricey and does nothing to address the central issue, which is storage. Of course, it’s sometimes possible to tune your applications. But this is time-consuming, costly, and risky. You could end up making everything slower and waste a lot of time, money and resources with this approach.

Now that flash has become more flexible and less expensive, it offers a better way forward.

Transform Your Performance Easily

Flash gets you tremendous speed. You can achieve an 85% reduction in batch processing times and a 90% reduction in OLTP times. And you can do all of this without revamping your applications or architecture. With the help of Softchoice, you can figure out how much flash you need, and where you need it.

The efficiency gains are also huge. It’s true that flash is more expensive than spinning disk drives up front. But flash has a much lower total cost of ownership. It utilizes a lot less energy than would be needed for traditional storage systems. To be precise, flash offers a 9:1 rack space advantage over a traditional 15K drive implementation. In terms of energy savings, it offers a 600:1 advantage.

So, the more you invest in flash, the more you save on infrastructure real estate and energy costs.

IBM’s Flash Family has Something for Everyone

Not everyone’s flash needs are the same. Some enterprises need performance boosts in very specific and sometimes limited instances. Other enterprises need a massive increase in the speed of everything. This is why IBM offers a wide range of flash products, each tuned to specific purposes.

For example: maybe you have highly selective computational requirements. So, you want to run a hybrid data center, and take advantage of virtualization to use  flash in a precise few areas. In that case, you might be best investing in the Storwize V9000 All-Flash Array. On the other hand, maybe you want to deploy a lot of flash on mixed workloads. We might then recommend the FlashSystem A9000R. It offers the best performance with full-time data reduction.

In other words, there’s a unique flash for you, regardless of the kind of performance shortfalls you’re facing.

Some Examples of Real-Life Wins

Softchoice has helped a variety of clients with flash. To give you a concrete idea of what we can do, let’s explore how flash helped two customers: a manufacturing company, and a retail company.

For the retail customer, we replaced 50+ shelves of high-quality storage running an SAP/Oracle Environment with 8 shelves of IBM Flash. The results were fantastic. Customer experiences improved because of a large reduction in latency. Big batch jobs went from 12-hour-long affairs to painless 1-hour tasks. Also, analytics became much easier to run. This allowed our client to gather a lot more insight into their customers.

The manufacturing company started with 120 300GB 15K disk arms, in RAID -10. The response times weren’t great at 4.11 ms.  After we replaced that setup with 9, 1.6TB flash drives, the situation improved. Response times went down to a shocking 0.54ms, operational costs plummeted. And big reporting jobs went from 48H to 6H.

The numbers speak for themselves.

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