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New Technology from Dell Reduces Flash Storage Costs

Companies are out to make money, of course, and one way of helping them achieve that is to reduce their internal costs. For big businesses, one of the great costs is that of data storage. Not only do companies have to comply with data archiving practices, but there’s also day-to-day data access internally and externally.

While hard disk drives remain cheap and continue to drop in price, flash storage is still expensive. Many companies can’t afford to shell out for high capacity flash storage simply because it’s more cost effective to go for a hard disk, despite the slower access speeds that the format offers.

However, Dell is hoping to change that. They have recently announced what they call the first all-flash storage array to feature TLC 3D NAND technology. The company claim this reduces the cost of all-flash storage to the lowest it’s ever been.

These new drives will be incorporated into Dell’s SC Series enterprise storage arrays, with their ultimate goal to make data centre flash storage available at the same cost as the fastest 15000 rpm hard drives. Of course, flash will then be the ultimate choice: it can provide up to 24x improvement in performance, it’s six times the density, and boasts lower power consumption and latency. It’s the clear storage choice.

The solid drives are based on Samsung’s triple level cell flash technology. This is a combination of new and old tech, which is how Dell is able to offer a lower flash for performance price. The all flash enterprise system Dell Storage SC4020 can cost $1.66 per raw gigabyte and as little as 58c per gigabyte for usual hybrid flash configurations.

Dell’s strategy allows various types of flash storage to be deployed in multiple tier architectures at a cheaper cost than single tier flash arrays. Flash drives built on the TLC 3D NAND technology means that Dell is offering storage density of 45TB per rack unit for flash arrays. At the same time, they’re reducing the cost of enterprise flash storage per GB, while simultaneously improving performance.

Dell continues to push further into flash adoption, with revenue from all-flash and hybrid-flash products growing 89 percent in the first quarter of 2015, compared against the previous year. A survey of 580 global IT leaders (undertaken by SSG-NOW) found that Dell is also the preferred vendor for enterprise flash and SSD deployment.

The new technology is thanks to a combination of Data Progression intelligent data tech and Storage Center 6.6 array software, which allows the company to adopt and optimize the new Mainstream RI drives. As such, the company’s full offerings in Storage SC8000, SC4020 and SCv2000 now support hybrid and all-flash array configurations.

These new drives come in capacities up to 3.8 TB, with the Storage SC4020 providing a total of 90TB in an array with only 2U of rack space.

“TLC flash is now finding its way into the data centre. Its use might not as widespread as that of MLC (multi-level cell), but other providers will follow now that Dell is doing it,” said Tim Stammers, senior analyst at 451 Research.

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