According to IDC, the All-Flash Array (AFA) market is one of the fastest-growing sub-segments of the overall enterprise storage space with a compound annual growth rate of 21.4 per cent through 2020.

The reason why is because AFAs have been fitted out with extensive enterprise-class functionality and higher capacities, meaning they can be used for single workloads as well as dense mixed workload consolidation. But despite the many performance benefits of flash, several IT executives and business line managers continue to view AFAs as too expensive to function as a replacement for legacy general-purpose storage platforms.

As a result, Eric Burgener has written an IDC report entitled “Justifying Investment in All-Flash Arrays,” which offered the following essential guidance.

Consider AFAs when its time for renewal

Organisations should strongly consider AFAs when legacy general-purpose storage platforms, which are predominantly used for primary storage workloads, come up for renewal.

Consider AFAs for performance-sensitive workloads

If you are running applications where improved performance has a direct impact on revenue generation, the quality of customer responsiveness, or other bottom-line business benefits, an AFA purchase makes perfect sense.

Avoid historical comparison metrics to evaluate cost of AFA

Instead, use more relevant metrics like the cost per effective gigabyte or cost per IOPS. Burgener recommends the TCO adjusted for the secondary economic benefits of flash deployment at scale because the relative all-flash TCO advantage will improve as the AFA hosts more workloads.

Evaluate contribution of flash’s secondary economic benefits to AFA TCO

Although this can include some soft costs such as easier administration and lower support, it should also consider hard cost savings for array hardware, servers, and software licenses.

Realistically assess the financial implications of flash

Flash is not all about performance; it’s a potential game changer in a number of areas, resulting in immediate savings. Decision makers should quantity these savings and plan to take advantage of them.

Realise that flash enables higher application and infrastructure densities

In turn, this allows small datacentres to appear much bigger in terms of the workloads they can service. IDC says it has talked to more than one customer that was able to delay or entirely forego an expansion of datacentre floor space by moving to AFAs for all primary storage.

“When all-flash arrays are deployed as general-purpose storage platforms for primary applications, the total cost of ownership advantage flash brings to the table relative to hard disk drive–based systems is overwhelming,” Burgener concludes.