All the noise about all flash arrays and acquisitions set me thinking a bit about SSDs and flash; how it has changed things for me.
To be honest, the flash discussions haven’t yet really impinged on my reality in my day-to-day job, we do have the odd discussion about moving metadata onto flash but we don’t need it quite yet; most of the stuff we do is sequential large I/O and spinning rust is mostly adequate. Streaming rust i.e tape is actually adequate for a great proportion of our workload. But we keep a watching-eye on the market and where the various manufacturers are going with flash.
But flash has made a big difference to the way that I use my personal machines and if I was going to deploy flash in a way that would make the largest material difference to my user-base, I would probably put it in their desktops.
Firstly, I now turn my desktop off; I never used to unless I really had to but waiting for it to boot or even awake from sleep was at times painful. And sleep had a habit of not sleeping or flipping out on a restart; turning the damn thing off is much better. This has had the consequence that I now have my desktops on an eco-plug which turns off all the peripherals as well; good for the planet and good for my bills.
Secondly, the fact that the SSD is smaller means that I keep less crap on it and am a bit more sensible about what I install. Much of my data is now stored on the home NAS environment which means I am reducing the number of copies I hold; I find myself storing less data. There is another contributing factor; fast Internet access means that I tend to keep less stuff backed-up and can stream a lot from the Cloud.
Although the SSD is smaller and probably needs a little more disciplined house-keeping; running a full virus check which I do on occasion is a damn sight quicker and there are no more lengthy defrags to worry about.
Thirdly, applications load a lot faster; although my desktop has lots of ‘chuff’ and can cope with lots of applications open, I am more disciplined about not keeping applications open because their loading times are that much shorter. This helps keeping my system running snappily, as does shutting down nightly I guess.
I often find on my non-SSD work laptop that I have stupid numbers of documents open; some have been open for days and even weeks. This never happens on my desktop.
So all-in-all; I think if you really want bang-for-buck and to put smiles on many of your users’ faces; the first thing you’ll do is flash-enable the stuff that they do everyday.