The Cost of Flash

Brad Stropes

It’s widely believed that flash is where all data centers are heading and that spinning disk is dead.  Though I too believe this is true, many of our customers are worried about the increasing costs they may endure.  Flash storage is still more expensive to purchase on a Terabyte basis, but we are seeing a much lower cost when we look at the true costs of a datacenter.

In recent years storage vendors have shaken up the marketplace by changing the typical purchasing model.  In previous years, storage vendors would sell a box with 3 years of maintenance and then raise the maintenance on year 4 to force the purchase of a new box.  However, new all-flash storage vendors such as PURE Storage and Nimble Storage are now keeping their maintenance flat past 6 years.  This is all because of the durability of flash storage.

Since spinning disk is a mechanical device, it has a high rate of failure.  Flash has a lower rate of failure making it a much more durable storage solution.  In addition, it has a lower failure rate due to the way software helps the data parody across numerous flash drives.  This lower failure rate leads to a much longer lifespan and flat maintenance beyond the previous 3 year norm.  Because of this revolution, the way we evaluate the costs of our data storage infrastructure also needs to change.

Moving forward, arrays will have a minimum life of 6 years and could easily expand past this.  When you combine these long life cycles and the flat rate, the costs for flash are dramatically lower. This means that moving to an all-flash datacenter would not only be less expensive than disk, but it is actually now competing against public cloud offerings on a monthly operation cost.

I you would like to learn more about flash, our team at CBTS would be willing to develop an all-flash assessment for your business at no cost.  Please contact Brad Stropes at with any questions.
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