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Sweet Violin Music

Chris’ slightly breathless piece about Violin contains one quote from  Don Basile which actually almost justifies the whole breathless piece and he is talking about 3-bit MLC NAND

“The economic impact is that we’ll be down to $2/GB level pricing.”

At that sort of price, flash technologies start to come down to the cost of Enterprise disk in capacity terms and far out-strip Enterprise disk in cost per I/O. But the question seems to be will the traditional storage vendors embrace it?

There does seem to be a lot of negativity with regards to them embracing it but I am not sure that is warranted; EMC embraced SSDs quickly and the rest of the industry followed. And now most of the industry has technologies which allow them to make use of flash effectively; you are still going to be buying gobs of spinning rust for bulk data but if for instance you are EMC, you can build extremely effective and cost-efficient Isilon nodes filled full of flash and to hold both the meta-data and the active files.

In fact EMC’s Isilon purchase looks better every day; this sort of technology plays into the hands of anyone who has access to clustered, scale-out file-systems. EMC didn’t so they bought one.

And with Quantum’s recent announcement of a hardware appliance to support Stornext Meta-data; they also must have one eye with what is going on in the flash-space for bulk storage. I do wonder when NetApp are going to do the sensible thing and snap them up whilst they still can.

If you can buy flash at the price of 15K spinning rust, why wouldn’t you? It’ll take some years to get down to the price of SATA/NL-SAS but this is just the inevitable progression until the next great thing to come along.


  1. EtherealMind says:

    I’m starting to wonder if Ethernet or FC networking is up to the challenge of data delivery to storage arrays. At 140000 IOPS for a flash array, you can actually move some serious data (compared to todays relatively slow arrays).

    Will it be a driver for 40 GbE and 100 GbE ? Probably.

    1. Martin Glassborow says:

      Bandwidth poverty…in the data centre and at/to home is going to become more and more of an issue.

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