Why Flash Alone Won’t Solve Your Storage Problems

The lure of faster storage is unsurprisingly a big drawcard. It has the potential to reduce application bottlenecks, retrieve information faster, produce reports quicker. But, despite popular belief, going all-flash won’t be the magic trick that makes your storage problems disappear in a puff of smoke.

The True Cause of Storage Problems

The thing is, only 46% of issues are directly caused by storage. In those cases, just adding Flash storage isn’t going to work. Instead, it is necessary to address the root cause, but that can be easier said than done.

When users want to access an app, they have high expectations. They want to get the information they need and carry out important tasks, all without delay. What they don’t realise is the intricate interactions happening beneath the surface, where one transaction may involve drawing information from multiple databases. If even one interaction is slow or there does not work, the entire process will be held up, creating an app-data gap. Flash storage alone cannot unravel that knotty problem.

When AI Meets All-Flash Storage

This is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) in storage can create a surprising advantage. It constantly monitors and evaluates information, detecting where problems lie, and fixing many automatically without the need for intervention. Downtime is cut significantly as a result. And it doesn’t just limit this intelligence to the storage environment, it actually goes beyond, understanding exactly which interactions are causing applications to slow down.

It might sound futuristic, but HPE’s Nimble Storage is already doing combining all-flash and AI in many businesses around the world. They start comfortably in the small-to-mid-sized business range, meaning that AI isn’t just for the wealthy, top-of-town types. The outcomes are impressive. When the app-data gap is closed, productivity rises. Staff satisfaction follows, with employees focused more on customer outcomes when they aren’t slowed down by wrestling with slow applications.

DR and backup

Powerful processing needs to be combined with the right protection and backup to further reduce downtime and increase efficiencies. Disaster Recovery software and backup solutions like those from Veeam can ensure IT environments like Nimble can run smoothly without the worry. By ensuring quick recovery in an emergency and a system that is supported with the right back up, staff can worry about more important things, with the benefits flowing on to customers.

AI in the Real World

Think of the gap in the context of, say, a retailer. A customer browses the carefully planned displays, selects some purchases, and then, because systems are running slowly, he waits in line. He starts to tap his foot and checks his watch. Lunch break is almost over and the shop on the way back to the office will have the same items, without the wait. He puts down the items and walks away, maybe mentioning the problem on social media when he gets back to his desk. In retail, as in most businesses, customer experience is king.

The same retailer, with the data gap closed, has the chance to offer a vastly different experience. Faster systems don’t just mean no queues. The opportunity for less burdened IT staff exists to design that customer app for pre-ordering, or for automated SMS offers tailored to the customer’s needs. Higher productivity means more assistants on the shop floor, greeting customers and re-stocking merchandise. Cashiers process sales faster, able to interact more. The outcome is a happy customer who may, just possibly, recommend the shop to his friends.

Variations on that outcome apply in any industry. Less time wrangling complex systems, more designing the new services that will wow customers, or the apps that will lead to efficiency gains in the accounts department. All-flash may not magically solve all your storage problems, but combined with AI and DR, the outcome will impress.

Time to end the pain of application performance issues? Talk to our experienced experts at mcrIT.