Flash Point

All Flash Arrays (AFA) have been the flavor of the month for some time now with the Storage bloggers, especially after EMC announced the GA of its XtremIO based All Flash Array.

The blogging activity on this started even before the announcement with Richard Harris blogging about it. Before EMC made its announcement, Harris had this interestingly titled blog post : “XtremeLY late XtremIO launch next week” It is an interesting post with Harris discussing in detail about the challenges EMC faces in this area and also about the delay in EMC getting the product to the market.

EMC’s response came in the form of a long and informative post by Chad Sakac, ‘Virtual Geek’. In this detailed post “XtremeIO; Taking the time to do it right”, Chad explains some of the details of the XtremIO and why it took time for EMC to release the product.

From the end user side, the well respected Martin Glassborow, ‘Storagebod’ seemed underwhelmed and said that he ‘Xpect More..’ The post asks some very pertinent questions. Given that it comes from an end user, I am sure all the vendors are keenly listening.

With the All Flash Arrays coming in, the question that gets asked by everyone now is “What type of workloads require such performance?”. The FUD against AFA but those who don’t have one is based on this question.  The question is a genuine and a pertinent one but can always be twisted around to say that AFA is not needed in any case. Robin Harris takes on this question in his, “Ideal workload for enterprise arrays?” post. It had a good discussion in the comments section with Chad Sakac of EMC and NetApp employees weighing in. This lead Robin to do a followup “Best workload for enterprise arrays” post wherein he gave his response to the comments received in the earlier post.

Is AFA only about performance or should we also see the storage efficiency side of things. Vaughn Stewart, who had moved from NetApp to Pure Storage earlier, had a chart which spoke about both performance and storage efficiency of AFAs. He compared products from Pure Storage, Violin, EMC and IBM. Here is the chart.

Chris Evans felt that while Vaughn’s sheet was a good starting point, it did not compare all the vendors of Flash Arrays. So he set out to expand the list of vendors as well as the metrics being used for comparison. Here is the Expanded Comparison Chart.

Now that EMC has come out with its XtremIO array is that logical choice for the customer to buy given EMC’s background and size? No says Robin Harris and gives his take on what he calls the “Top 5 alternatives to XtremIO”

Vaughn Stewart feels that the adoption of Flash has been exceeding everyone’s expectations and that EMC’s entry would accelerate the adoption further. Here is his take on “All Flash Array: Market Clarity”

It must be said that whenever EMC enters the market with a new product there is no dearth of debate. It is the same this time around. Will this be the flash point which will accelerate market adoption of flash or whether this is a temporary flare up with the market slowly settling down between flash and spinning rust, only time will tell. I will probably bet on the latter.