Dell is to introduce drives based on 3D Nand flash technology to its Dell SC Series of enterprise storage arrays, a move it claims will make flash storage for the data centre no more costly than today's fastest 15K RPM hard drives, effectively rendering them redundant.
Dell said that it will be the first storage vendor to introduce 3D Nand flash technology into its enterprise arrays from August. Based on triple-level cell (TLC) flash technology from Samsung, the solid state drives can cram more capacity into the same form factor, pushing down the cost.
In fact, Dell claims that the technology will double the capacity of its SC Series flash-based array products, with the SC4020 offering up to 90TB of raw flash capacity in a 2U enclosure, at a price of $1.66 per gigabyte.
The higher-end SC8000 arrays will be able to support up to 3PB of raw flash capacity in a single array, according to Dell.
The firm said it is anticipating a very high adoption rate once the new flash storage options become available.
"For the last 18 months, when we've been to talking to customers about their environments and looking at the adoption of flash, the big conversation has been about at what point is flash going to supersede hard disk drives, and specifically when you look at that 15K drive tier," Dell's UK storage director Paul Harrison told V3.
"From August, you'll be able to buy the same capacity with flash from us as you can using hard disk, so the question becomes ‘why wouldn't you?'"
Customers are still likely to deploy tiered storage, however, as different types of flash technology offer different levels of performance, just as 15K hard drives are faster than 10K hard drives but more costly.
The best storage mix to deploy will depend on factors such as the latency, input/output operations per second and throughput required by the applications a customer is running.
Dell's storage arrays already offer a combination of single-level cell flash for write-intensive workloads and multi-level cell for read-intensive workloads, "but you're still paying a premium for that over an HDD", Harrison said.
"The great thing with TLC is that it's going to be suitable for the kind of applications and workloads that were previously just put on disk, because we've now got price parity," he added.
Dell is not the first to claim cost parity with hard drives for flash storage hardware. Earlier this year, SanDisk launched its InfiniFlash portfolio, offering a claimed price point of less than $1 per gigabyte.
This was followed by StorTrends, the data storage division of American Megatrends Incorporated, which claimed it could achieve 50c per gigabyte, while HP unveiled a new line of StoreServ 20000 arrays offering a storage cost of just $1.50 per usable gigabyte.
Harrison said that Dell is backing its products with the same lifetime warranty it offers on arrays using rotating media. This means it will replace any SSDs that wear out while the array is under a support agreement, regardless of wear or maximum life rating.
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