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Watch our TEC37 Webinar "The Future of Flash" On Demand

Learn about the state of the flash industry and gain insights into best use cases.

Flash in the pan?

With the performance advantages of flash along with the closing price gap between flash and spinning disk, is it just a matter of time before your organization transitions to all-flash storage? Or will there continue to be valid use cases in favor of spinning disk five years from now? What’s on the technical horizon for flash? What emerging storage technologies may supersede flash in the future?

Our latest TEC37 webinar featured technical experts from the two titans of the flash market, Dell EMC and NetApp, who shared the stage with WWT to provide their informed insights on these questions and more.

The discussion was moderated by Scott Webb, WWT’s Technical Architect and Flash Storage discipline lead. Scott was joined by Pete Richardson, Partner CTO for Dell EMC; Jerry Eagen, National Technical Partner Manager for NetApp and Jeff Fonke, WWT’s Senior Storage Administer for WWT’s internal IT team.

A few of the topics our panelists discussed include:

  • How are organizations taking advantage of flash currently in their data centers?
  • Does flash truly meet all the hype in terms of all of the benefits (massively improved performance, power and cooling reductions, data center footprint reductions)?
  • What use cases for flash do they see going forward?

Watch our webinar on demand or subscribe to our #TEC37 podcast channel to listen on the go. You can also see what was on attendees’ minds by checking out the FAQs section below.

The webinar concluded with encouragement to speak to your WWT account manager to schedule a visit to our Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to learn more about WWT’s multi-vendor Flash Lab.

Selected questions from the audience

Q: Are you hearing any concerns from your customers over data availability with regard to all-flash storage?

Jerry Eagen, National Technical Partner Manager for NetApp: This is always a concern with any storage technology. We’re seeing a lot of innovation in this area. For example, Samsung, a leading manufacturer in flash, recently developed “multi-stream” technology that is tied into the operating system of enterprise storage vendors. Multi-stream helps avoid NAND erase block fragmentation to provide better reliability, throughput performance and most importantly, better durability. There will definitely continue to be more innovations in this area too.

Q: In your opinion, what are the more important features one should evaluate when purchasing flash?

Pete Richardson, Partner CTO for Dell EMC: It really depends. It boils down to specific use cases. You have to first evaluate your use case to determine the product that is going to best accomplish your end goal.

Jeff Fonke, Senior Storage Administrator for WWT: Certainly performance is our first consideration. But total cost of ownership including soft costs like the impact on our data center footprint are important too.

Q: Will there be a role for spinning disk in data centers five years from now?

Jerry Eagen, National Technical Partner Manager for NetApp: Without a doubt, absolutely. Innovation continues, such as helium filled drives that allow for more platters, which means more space. Other innovations, such as HAMR (Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording), SMR (Shielded Magnetic Recording) and other innovations that are still in development. We’re hearing that there will be 60 terabyte spinning disk drives – which will mean the cost per gigabyte will be very low. There are still technology innovations coming out, so I believe there will continue to be a place for spinning drives.

Pete Richardson, Partner CTO for Dell EMC: I agree with Jerry that spinning drives will still be around, but I don’t think there will be a place for spinning disks in enterprise storage. There may, however, continue to be a place for spinning drives in archiving and other applications.