Lastly, SolidFire plans to go to market in January with a scale-out, clustered storage product filled with MLC flash. The hardware is expected to have inline deduplication and compression as well as thin provisioning. Thin provisioning allows the system to offer capacity to application servers on an as-needed basis, as opposed to the more traditional approach of over provisioning. The system, which will offer a guaranteed quality of service and is expected to scale to 1,000TB, or 1 petabyte in size, only uses the iSCSI transfer protocol in order to keep prices low, according to Forrester.
In its report, Forrester cautions that the all-SSD arrays it references are relatively new to the market (this year or last year) and need scrutiny by potential users for deficiencies, such as a lack of data snapshots or replication and application compatibility issues. An SSD-only storage infrastructure depends heavily on the effectiveness of deduplication.
"Although some of the cost efficiency comes from both the price declines of flash and use of cheaper versions, you can't come close to the cost of disk without enabling much better data deduplication," Forrester said.
Better deduplication requires sufficient CPU capability to do the inline process without diminishing performance; an effective deduplication algorithm; and data such as email and other documents that lends itself to data reduction.
"While dedupe can bring the all-SSD architecture closer to the cost of disk, it remains to be seen whether this can be a viable alternative to disk-based systems," Reichman said.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.