Endurance of NAND Flash Memory Key to Widespread Adoption of SSDs – Customers

End-Users Mostly Concerned About Endurance of NAND Flash Memory

by Anton Shilov
12/12/2012 | 11:05 PM

An international industry survey has revealed that 77% of respondents believe NAND flash endurance is the key to widespread SSD adoption, according to Smart Storage Systems, a maker of enterprise solid-state drives, which sponsored the survey. Findings also highlight cost as primary barrier to transition to all-flash environments.

 

77% of respondents believe NAND flash endurance is the key to widespread SSD adoption in the enterprise. Further underscoring the need for improved endurance of more cost-effective multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash, 55% of respondents identified cost as the primary barrier to transitioning to an all-Flash enterprise storage environment.

“Since SSDs became a viable option for the enterprise, performance, cost, and reliability have been critical points of evaluation. However, as IT purchasers begin to better understand the technology’s strengths and weaknesses, we are seeing more importance placed on the balance between endurance and cost,” said John Scaramuzzo, President of SMART Storage Systems.

Viewed by many as the answer to server and storage bottlenecks, the survey found that 52% of organisations currently leverage SSDs in their environment, either in all-Flash architectures or SSDs combined with traditional hard-disk drives (HDDs). Seeking a balance between cost, performance, and endurance, many data centre managers look to consumer-grade MLC Flash-based SSDs. However, due to its inherently low endurance, MLC-based SSDs quickly wear out in write-intensive enterprise workloads, requiring organisations to replace their SSDs multiple times during the warranty period thereby increasing the total cost of ownership (TCO). While 59% of the survey’s respondents believe that MLC Flash is enterprise-ready, 72% rated the endurance of their current SSDs as a seven or below on a 10-point scale, resulting in slower penetration of SSDs in enterprise environments due to the need to replace drives within the stated warranty period.  

In addition to highlighting the need for endurance-enhanced MLC NAND Flash, the survey also spotlighted key factors that data centre purchasers consider when evaluating solutions, including:

“We have always believed that endurance is the key to making SSDs truly viable in the enterprise. Our Guardian Technology Platform enables consumer-grade MLC Flash to reach up to 50 drive writes per day, enabling SSDs to strike the balance between performance, reliability, cost, and endurance, and meet the requirements of nearly any enterprise application,” added Mr. Scaramuzzo.

The Smart Storage Systems survey was conducted at the company’s exposition booth during the 2012 Flash Memory Summit, VMworld 2012, SNW Fall (U.S.) 2012, and SNW Europe 2012 conferences, collecting 722 responses. Survey participants included IT management and infrastructure professionals, storage architects, and engineering and product managers from the United States and Europe.