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Dispelling the Myth that Flash Is Expensive

Comparing the cost of Flash for primary storage applications with traditional solutions

Dave Wright, founder and CEO of SolidFire, addresses the SSD cost question that seems to be on many users' minds these days, creating confusion and delaying purchase decisions that could actually save money for the respective organizations.

In a recent blog post, he states that the myth that flash is expensive is propagated by enterprise storage vendors selling flash modules for $25-$50/GB or more. Today, not everybody can afford that, and some users are currently limiting the use of flash to only the most critical applications in need of the highest-performance storage.

Wright continues to dispel the myth that flash is expensive:

"The reality is that flash chip prices have been on a dramatic decline over the last five years, dropping in price by 50 percent or more a year as demand increases and process sizes shrink. Spot prices for MLC flash are now around $1-$1.25/GB, and high-capacity MLC SSDs can now be had for under $2/GB. Of course, most enterprise storage vendors aren't using MLC. The limitations of their architecture often don't allow it. However, an architecture designed from the ground up around SSDs, balancing use of SLC and MLC technologies, is a different story.

In comparison to enterprise SATA drives, which sell for $0.15/GB, $1/GB for flash may still seem expensive. For applications where capacity is the only concern, that's certainly true, and will continue to be the case for many years. However, for primary storage applications, those that require even a modest number of IOPS, a comparison to SATA drives does not make much sense. A better comparison with flash would be 10K & 15K SAS drives, or even complex tiered solutions that use SSD, SAS, and SATA.  With 15K SAS drives at $1/GB or more, flash is not far from closing the gap."

This is where SolidFire users win, as they are able to take advantage of the an architecture that combines the falling price of solid state storage with high-efficiency technologies that dramatically increase effective capacity and require a fraction of the power, cooling, and space of spinning disk.

More Stories By Georgiana Comsa

Georgiana Comsa is the founder of Silicon Valley PR, a PR agency with a unique focus on the data infrastructure markets. Georgiana's decision to found Silicon Valley PR was based on her own experience as a corporate PR professional working with other PR agencies; she noticed that there was a need for a specialized, rather than a general tech PR firm, with media, analyst, and vendor relationships that would benefit its clients. With Silicon Valley PR, companies get to leverage the power of traditional and digital media relations to generate highly targeted press coverage, contributing to tangible business wins, which help them launch and grow their businesses.

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