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Traditional enterprise workloads on an all-flash array? WHY WOULD I BOTHER?

Latency from humans in front of the screen

Storagebod Are all-flash arrays ready for legacy enterprise workloads? The latest little spat between EMC and HP bloggers asked that question.

But it’s not really an interesting question. A more interesting question would be: "Why would I put traditional enterprise workloads on an AFA?"

More and more I’m coming across people who are asking precisely that question and struggling to come up with an answer. Yes, an AFA makes a workload run faster, but what does that gain me? It really is very variable across application type and where the application bottlenecks are. If you have a workload that does not rely on massive scale and parallelism, you will probably find that a hybrid array will suit you better and you will gain pretty much all the benefits of flash at a fraction of the cost.

The response often received when you point out that you'll be able to run batch jobs, often the foundation of many legacy workloads, in half the time is: "So what?" As long as the workload runs in the window, that is all anyone cares about.

If all your latency is the human in front of the screen, the differences in response times from your storage become pretty insignificant.

AFAs only really make sense as you move away from a legacy application infrastructure, where you are creating applications differently, moving many of the traditional capabilities of an enterprise infrastructure up the stack and into the application. Who cares if the AFA can handle replication, consistency groups and other such capabilities when that is taken care of by the application?

Yes, I can point to some traditional applications that will benefit from a massive amount of flash, but these tend to be "snowflake applications" and they could almost certainly do with a rewrite.

I’d like to see more vendors be honest about the use cases for their arrays, more vendors working in a consultative manner and fewer vendors just trying to shift as much tin as possible. But that is much harder to achieve and requires a level of understanding that is beyond that of most tin-shifters. ®

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