SanDisk’s Less Than A Dollar Per GB Cost Redefines Enterprise Flash Market

SanDisk has seen a lot of transition. From a USB and SD card vendor, the company evolved to offer solutions to data centres and enterprises. With its next level of evolution, SanDisk is all set to disrupt the market. Ravi Swaminathan, VP & GM, Systems & Software Solutions, SanDisk, throws light on how the latest offering is redefining enterprise flash.

How is the adoption of flash changing in enterprises? We have dramatically changed the price point of flash. It has now become very appealing to CIOs looking to adopt flash in massive quantities for scaled applications. All the solutions that we offer are less than a dollar before data reduction. With data reduction of 3X or 5X, it comes down to 20-30 cents a gigabyte. This is completely game changing as now CIOs don’t have to think twice before adopting flash. So how have you been able to get to such low price points? We were able to do this by deconstructing the array into software defined flash systems. The new SanDisk InfiniFlash all-flash storage system gives customers a lot of flexibility. During my interactions with CIOs, I realize that they acknowledge the power of flash but are not convinced on its ROI. Finally, we feel like that we have worked hard to bring an array of affordable price points that the world has not seen so far. But does InfiniFlash also have a positive impact on real estate and power costs? For a majority of CIOs, storage means having six racks and thousands of watts of power. However, with InfiniFlash, the density is 1 petabyte in 8U. Also, the petabyte of flash consumes only 1000 watts of power. It is proven that all-flash arrays, as compared to HDD, are 10X more reliable. As Infiniflash offers one of the highest densities – 512 TB in 3U, it helps a CIO in saving expensive rack space, thereby leading to efficient use of real estate and power. Does this mean that spindle drives are history? While there is no workload that flash can’t replace, it will take longer than most people expect to completely phase out their hard drives. The simple reason for this is that there is not enough flash capacity to replace every hard drive out there. The entire flash industry capacity is about 50 Exabyte. SanDisk produces almost 23% of the world's flash output. Meanwhile, the amount of hard drives getting shipped is a much larger percentage. Flash capacity is only 20% of the total storage. CIOs can’t look at flash in isolation. They will have to upgrade their infrastructure to match flash because legacy applications aren’t fast enough to respond to flash. When you replace flash, the software does run faster because the underlying storage has become faster. However, not all data has to be accessed quickly. There are certain types of data that are meant to be archived. While all workloads can run on flash, a CIO would have to address the issue of RoI before taking a decision. Have you deployed InfiniFlash internally at SanDisk? We actually drink our own champagne. InfiniFlash powers our email and archival stuff. By deploying the solution, we have seen a noticeable difference in the down time. Flash also offers more storage for the email inbox. Earlier, we used to delete all the images in the emails but now every user has 500 GB of space. The other benefit accruing from InfiniFlash is insight into data. Since we are engaged in the manufacture of memory technology, we generate terabytes and terabytes of data daily. InfiniFlash helps us in doing data analytics and making sense out of Big Data. How do you think IoT will influence the industry in general and the IT department in particular? The Internet of Things is causing an explosion of data. IoT is all about sensors and collecting information. Somebody has to store and process this data. This opens up a new world of opportunities for flash. We feel that India as a market is still on the low-end for flash adoption. It’s just starting to take off. SanDisk is seeing huge success and we have grown this region very fast, very rapidly.


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