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Essential guide to hybrid flash arrays

Hybrid flash arrays are growing in popularity, pulling ahead of all-flash. This essential guide dives into hybrid array use cases, tips and precautions.

Introduction

Hybrid flash arrays are the most common storage-side flash deployment today -- well ahead of all-flash arrays. Many users have added flash to existing storage to create a DIY hybrid SSD array. Plus, every major storage vendor offers hybrid flash arrays, and some sell a variety of them. Typically, an organization might have one or two applications -- such as a database or virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) -- that require the performance flash offers. So, an all-flash array may be overkill.

Hybrid flash arrays offer the performance that organizations need for those critical apps, while keeping costs under control and boosting capacity with traditional hard drives. Of course, there are a number of important things to consider when choosing a hybrid SSD array. For example, should you build it yourself with existing storage or purchase a new array? If you opt to buy, has the vendor simply added flash to an existing array, or has the array been designed from the ground up or re-architected to take full advantage of flash?

This Essential Guide will look at the variety of hybrid flash arrays available today, offer info on typical hybrid array use cases, compare hybrid and all-flash arrays, and more. Readers will also learn common issues to watch for when deploying and managing hybrid flash arrays.

1DIY vs. buy-

When to install a hybrid array on your own

Buying a pre-configured hybrid SSD array from a vendor can result in a simpler installation and lower risk of incompatibility between an SSD and an existing array. However, with the steep price markups associated with buying, more and more companies are looking to go the DIY route.

News

Companies find pros and cons of installing SSD themselves

Installing SSD on your own without going through your storage vendor to save money? Here are lessons learned from people who have done it. Continue Reading

News

Experts offer advice for DIY approach to SSD installation

Experts disagree on whether self-SSD installation is a good idea, but those in favor say app assessment, research and testing are crucial steps. Continue Reading

Feature

Surveying hybrid flash array products from the big six

A look at the options to build hybrid flash arrays from the big six SAN makers Continue Reading

Tip

How hybrid flash tiering can break the tier-one storage habit

How can hybrid flash tiering decrease reliance on expensive tier one storage and improve performance? Independent storage expert Phil Goodwin shows us how in this tip. Continue Reading

Answer

Putting SSD in a tiered storage system

Find out whether you need to invest in new management software when adding SSD to a tiered storage system in this Expert Response from Marc Staimer. Continue Reading

Answer

Creating your own hybrid SSD arrays

Dennis Martin of Demartek discusses creating DIY hybrid SSD arrays by adding flash drives to an existing array. Continue Reading

2Hits and misses-

Hybrid flash snags to consider

There are a number of benefits to implementing a hybrid SSD array, which promises to deliver high-performance results at a lower cost. But are there drawbacks to look out for with a hybrid flash array? The links below dive into the issues you may run into with hybrid SSD arrays and how to confront them.

Tip

Flash-based storage systems: Tiering vs. caching

George Crump compares tiering and caching in flash-based storage systems and explains the pros and cons of each in this tip. Continue Reading

Tip

Should you believe flash vendor performance specs?

Any flash vendor can publish test results skewed in favor of its product. Colm Keegan helps separate fact from fiction in this tip. Continue Reading

Tip

How to avoid cache misses in hybrid flash arrays

Eric Slack takes a closer look at what happens when the flash in a hybrid flash array 'misses.' Continue Reading

Answer

Write-through vs. write-back vs. write-around caching

George Crump of Storage Switzerland compares three common types of caching -- write-through, write-back and write-around -- in this Expert Answer. Continue Reading

Tip

Selecting the appropriate page size for sub-LUN automated tiering

Sub-LUN automated tiering can maximize SSD effectiveness. Learn the importance of choosing the right page size for sub-LUN automated tiering. Continue Reading

3Hybrid vs. all-flash-

Deciding which array is the right choice

Hybrid and all-flash arrays each have their own benefits and drawbacks. Deciding which array works best for an environment requires an examination of your particular needs and resources. Below, find out what to look for when making the choice between a hybrid or all-flash array.

News

Enterprise flash usage focuses on hybrid arrays

Enterprise flash usage centers on hybrid arrays and servers as all-flash arrays gain a foothold; workloads include virtual environments, databases. Continue Reading

E-Handbook

Deciding whether a hybrid or all-flash storage array is right for you

While hybrid flash arrays are currently the most popular way to deploy solid-state storage in enterprises today, demand for all-flash arrays is growing. Over the past year, the all-flash array market has changed a lot. At the end of 2013, you could easily divide the arrays on the market into two distinct camps – performance focused on one hand and feature-rich on the other. In 2014, the former camp is nearly gone, due to end user demand for functionality like deduplication, replication and thin provisioning. Today’s arrays are looking a lot like their hard disk cousins, except with much higher performance. Our Handbook on all-flash arrays offers criteria to consider when making a purchasing decision, such as the core features the array offers, how those features are delivered, scale-up vs. scale-out architecture, and more. Continue Reading

Answer

Comparing performance of hybrid, all-flash arrays

What advantage does all-flash array performance offer when compared with hybrid arrays? Continue Reading

Tip

Q&A: How to choose between all-flash arrays and hybrid arrays

SearchSolidStateStorage managing editor Ed Hannan and independent storage expert Andrew Reichman compare all-flash and hybrid flash arrays in this Q&A. Continue Reading

Feature

Hybrid storage arrays vs. all-flash arrays

With solid-state prices dropping, more vendors offer all-flash arrays; but are they better than hybrid arrays that mix flash with spinning disk? Continue Reading

Tip

Choosing between hybrid SSD-HDD and 100% SSD systems

Choosing hybrid SSD-HDD storage systems over all-SSD storage systems comes down to IOPS, throughput, capacity, functionality and, of course, cost. Continue Reading

News

SSD users debate hybrid vs. all-flash arrays

A panel of storage administrators at SNW discuss why they chose either hybrid or all-flash arrays to speed application performance. Continue Reading

4Case studies-

Hybrid flash arrays in action

We've gathered five separate case studies where a hybrid SSD array was implemented. See what the process entailed, benefits they saw, and why they chose to go with hybrid over all-flash.

News

Making the case for hybrid flash array over all-flash array

Hedrick Gardner ruled all-flash array 'overkill,' and picked hybrid array from Tegile Systems -- but for more than just its performance bump. Continue Reading

News

County uses 'flash first' hybrid storage array to expand VDI environment

Bartholomew County, Ind. increased its virtual desktop infrastructure seats with a Tintri VMstore T540 hybrid storage array that mixes SSD and HDD. Continue Reading

News

Hybrid flash array speeds dental school's virtual app

The University of Colorado's dental school turned to a hybrid flash array from Tegile to meet high IOPS demands. Continue Reading

News

Finance house rolls out hybrid flash array for VMware View VDI

Fund investment advisor MVision has deployed a VM-centric Tintri hybrid flash array to speed consultant remote access to its VMware View 5.1 virtual desktop infrastructure Continue Reading

News

Housing firm enlists shared hybrid flash for multiple hypervisor environment

Housing association North Devon Homes builds dual-site Nexenta storage software arrays with hybrid flash as shared storage for VMware/Hyper-V virtual server environment Continue Reading

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