The happy middle ground for storage

Increasingly, hybrid storage is providing the best of both worlds. Standard benchmarks will rule that flash dominates on price/performance indicators and traditional hard disk storage rules out all competition when it comes to price/capacity.

While it ultimately depends on the priorities and workload of the business, hybrid storage offers the happy middle ground.

NetApp Country Manager for Malaysia and Brunei, Chin Fah Heoh said, “Input/Output Operations per Second (IOPS) is an important metric for flash storage options. However there are other factors users need to consider when making their selection.”

With flash being the premium medium that it is, he suggested that users should start their selection process with their expected workload in mind. The workload will in turn define which parameters are important – IOPS, Latency, capacity, cost, resilience, supportability, storage efficiency features, the wear cycle etc.

“These are some of the parameters users need to keep in mind when deploying flash. For example, if it is for transactional applications like in banks, then latency should be of topmost consideration.

“If it is a high performance application that needs quick ingest, then IOPS may be critical. Enterprises that require more supportability features with a rendering application should also consider the resilience of the system.”

Organisations can’t deny the benefits of a flash storage system – higher performance, lower power consumption and smaller physical footprint. But there are always two main considerations while adopting flash storage – price per gigabyte (GB) as the wear factor.

“Users need to understand their application needs and strike a balance between a faster performance and additional capacity. Every customer can be a user of flash as long as they have their math done right with respect to the above.”


According to Chin, businesses of today face the need to increase their capacity requirement and improve performance of their storage subsystem. On top of that, it is critical for businesses to reduce costs and resources needed to operate and manage.

“NetApp prides itself in having one of the strongest and broadest flash portfolios in the industry (Flash Cache, Flash Pool, EF flash arrays, all-FAS flash, hybrid arrays, and FlashRay) to provide flexibility and choice to maximise the value of flash across the entire compute, network, and storage stack for our customers,” said Chin.

According to him also, NetApp’s flash portfolio integrates seamlessly with other products and the cloud as most customers will need to balance performance with capacity.

One of the unique features of NetApp’s recently launched EF560 all-flash array is its achievement as the leading Storage Performance Council SPC-1 Price-Performance for all-flash arrays with an average response time of less than one millisecond, at $0.54/SPC-1 IOPS.

Chin explained that most workloads need a combination of both flash and hard drives to achieve a good combination of performance and capacity.

“This is NetApp’s strength. One cannot just have Ferraris driving down the streets of Singapore. Having an efficient public transport network, such as the MRT, is equally important to serve the needs of the everyday commuters. Not only do we provide superior all-flash arrays, we also complement them by combining with spindle based hard disks.”


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