If you live outside the plush, silicon walls that keep tech nerds immured in a wonderland of exhaustive technology news coverage, then chances are you haven’t heard about exciting new developments in the storage array industry. Flash arrays have emerged from a years-long gestation period into the tech mainstream and for some, this is nothing less than a seismic shift in the way data storage works for personal means and company-wide, server level arrays.
In May, Pure Storage announced the launch of it second-generation all flash array disk. The announcement came after a beta-testing phase that saw at least 100 units of the new hardware sent out around the industry. Now, with the kinks presumably ironed out, the company is ready to market its new Flash Array as the bleeding edge in storage arrays. A glimpse at the special features makes it easy to see why they think it’s a big deal.
As an expansion of the 300 Series of flash arrays, the new release adds onto the feature set of its first generation units. Notable additions include:
High availability is paramount in the mission-critical environment targeted by FlashArray, so the introduction of active/active high availability architecture places the new FlashArray a step above its predecessor. The ability to hot-swap each external component of the flash array (flash drives, NV-RAM devices, controllers, etc.) makes FlashArray a more versatile and user-friendly device.
FlashArray was designed with consumer-grade multi-level cell (MLC) flash in mind. To that end, FlashCare is specialized software that hardens MLC Flash, thereby improving performance and prolonging its life; kind of like steroids for your storage setup. PureStorage is claiming that its drive will last at least 5 years, even under uncommon duress, and is backing that up with a warranty for as long.
Traditional spinning disk’s list of downsides grows with every dollar that falls off the price tag of solid-state storage. Indeed, it seems like flash is superseding spinning disks in all fields but one: the bit error rate for flash drives is overwhelmingly high compared to spinning disks. The Data Integrity Fabric acts in concert with the error correcting code (ECC) that’s built into SSDs to help mitigate the bit error rate. That fabric is comprised of:
- Protected data – metadata structures are stored in a dual-parity format alongside data. That metadata can be rebuilt in the event of datastrophe
- Self-healing – when any corruption is detected (bit error, data or metadata-related, etc.), the dual-parity RAID-3D recovers data without the user having to do anything
Storage arrays are not the most glamorous or frontline aspect of the technology world, but they do act as a mitochondrial powerhouse for any entity looking to store and access lots of information very quickly. In that regard, all-flash arrays herald a new era of data trafficking that will allow faster access to information across a wide spectrum of service based businesses and plain old storage techniques. Until now, the cost of flash has been prohibitively high. That’s all history now. Flash prices are still priced at a premium thanks to the truckload of benefits they offer, but that price is rapidly falling and soon the spinning disk may go the way of the floppy.
Author Bio: Brian Flora is a writer and a self profound tech geek. He specializes in data storage including cloud computing and flash arrays. You can read more of his work at http://www.technected.com/.
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