Busting 10 All-Flash and HCI Myths

Published On: 23rd November 2017//2.3 min read//

This article continues on from our previous post: Have you developed ‘must have all-flash’ or ‘shiny new HCI toy’ syndrome?

John Glendenning examines (and busts) 10 myths relating to all-flash and HCI solutions.

Carrying on from my previous article addressing many IT professionals’ fixation with all-flash and HCI, I’d like to engage in a spot of ‘myth-busting’ and look at 10 commonly held beliefs relating to all-flash and/or highly spec’d HCI solutions.

Myth 1: All-flash is the best way to meet my performance needs.
Not always: Performance needs differ greatly and are a complex calculation across IOPs, throughput and compute. Leveraging memory caching, a small flash drive and magnetic disks for cold data will meet most requirements.

Myth 2: All-flash drives are not far off the cost of magnetic drives.
Wrong: Non-consumer all-flash drives are still 10x more expensive than magnetic disks.

Myth 3: All flash drives are more reliable.
Wrong: Enterprise grade magnetic disks have the same MTBF figures as non-consumer all-flash drives.

Myth 4: All-flash drives save power
Not always: It is true an all-flash drive uses less power than a magnetic disk. However, by leveraging memory and flash as a cache with 3 or less magnetic disks the overall power consumption of this vs several flash drives will be lower.

Myth 5: I need all-flash to plan for the future.
Wrong: A cluster with magnetic disks can be software updated to take advantage of memory caching with a click of the button. Immediately delivering blazingly fast reads and a significant improvement in writes.

Myth 6: HCI appliances reduce complexity.
Not always: not if you migrate from a simple single server edge solution and shoe-horn in datacenter driven architecture.

Myth 7: HCI appliances improve ease of management.
Not always: Managing in a multi-site edge environment is more challenging than the datacenter whilst maintain data-quorum adds to this complexity.

Myth 8: HCI will avoid vendor lock-in.
Not always: Many HCI solutions have a limited HCL, are often hardware vendor-centric and are highly sensitive to matching components and configurations across the cluster.

Myth 9: HCI is an expensive option
Wrong: A simple 2-server HCI solution today will cost no more than a single server solution cost 3 years ago.

Myth 10: All-flash and HCI will help with my career.
Wrong: Not if you spent $40k and could have spent $10k to meet the same requirement

I’ll end on a request to all IT professionals: please take a step back and consider the unique requirements of your all your IT operations.

Don’t simply try and force the square block of your datacenter architecture into less demanding environments such as remote sites at the edge. You can get datacenter-class services out to these sites without the danger of over-provisioning whilst protecting your precious budget and ensuring you can adapt to future needs.

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