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4 minute readNetApp Flash Cache and SSD Drives: The Secret to More Capacity

All the buzz these days is around flash storage. Is flash the future? Will everyone eventually have all-flash arrays. 

What I’m about to share below may be the difference between just getting by and actually thriving in your IT environment.

One of the advantages of working at Reliant Technology is that we have a creative, dynamic group of individuals who all work together to come up with resourceful and ingenious solutions for our customers. The other day my colleague, Brad, approached me and said the following: “Kyle, I keep talking to all these IT directors and storage admins who talk about flash as though it’s an all or nothing deal. They think they either have to do a refresh of their entire environment – which they can’t afford – or else stay stuck with those magnetic tape drives from the 70s.”

I looked at him, rolled up my sleeves, stroked my beard and pondered my response. Surely, not everyone believes this. There has to be a better way. I squinted into the springtime Georgia sun, picked up a magnolia leaf and pondered how I might respond.

Here is my response, a symphony of sorts, in three movements:

Movement #1: Performance Acceleration Modules

Hear this from the beginning. I’m not talking about anything new here. NetApp PAM was introduced by NetApp back in 2008. So why am I talking about it now? Good question. Well, in response to the dilemma above, it is possible to gain some of the benefits of flash storage right now without having to overhaul your storage environment. In essence, the PAM offers a new way to optimize the performance of a NetApp storage system by improving throughput and latency while reducing the number of disk spindles or shelves required. It also reduces power, cooling and rack space requirements. So, if you’re feeling a little claustrophobic and want to do some spring-cleaning, perhaps a PAM card might give you some much needed breathing room. Ahhhhh, smell that fresh air.

Movement #2: NetApp Flash Cache Intelligent Caching

At this point, you can literally hear the music swell as the sound of all that clear air provides a resounding reverberation of acoustic bliss off the walls of your now sizeable server space. NetApp Flash Cache is basically a method whereby your NetApp system intelligently determines and caches user data or NetApp metadata based on usage. This means no setup or ongoing administration for users, freeing up your time to focus on new projects. According to NetApp, Flash Cache works with all NetApp storage protocols and software and can increase your I/O throughput by up to 75%. Boom! The cymbals clash! At this point, you might be hearing Ralph Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 6 in E minor, 2nd movement of course.

Movement #3: Solid State Drives

While we all love to hear our symphony on analog, tape drives just aren’t cutting it any more. Tape is for the past. It is time for that dream to die. Haight-Ashbury was a long time ago. To get real speed you have to get some SSD drives! It’s the easiest way to upgrade your current system and get the speed and capacity you want!

Need help with your SAN environment? Contact Reliant Technology! We work with over 2,000 customers and can find the perfect fit for your specific needs. Click here to speak with someone today!

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

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As Data Center and storage experts, Reliant Technology is available to provide consultations and solutions to your server backup needs. Our experienced engineers and IT specialists are ready to help you determine the best option for your Data Center. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, or if you would like to submit an article for possible publication, please, get in touch with us.