These days choice is something everyone of us has become accustomed to. Go to just about any convenience or grocery store in the country and look for the peanuts. There they are, right? Peanuts are only in season for a couple of months each year, but because consumers demand year-round access, enough are harvested to extend the buying season. Same with Apples, Bananas and many other produce items. Choice is also important in your storage infrastructure. In fact, I’d argue it’s the most important feature an array can boast. Can your array provide both SAN and NAS protocols? At the same time? And can it provide access via multiple media types? FC and Ethernet? CIFS/SMB and NFS? Do you have the option to deploy an active/active controller configuration? Can you leverage multiple RAID layout options to best suite your workloads? Can you get an all flash or flash hybrid array with the same software stack? Can you change your mind and switch? Does the software foundation provide you with the capability to adapt as the market changes? Will the array modularly provide access to the latest protocols or connectivity types? The newest drive types? Does the array provide deduplication and compression? Can it be enabled or disabled at the LUN level? Does it support replication? What about application consistent snapshots? Virtualization integration? Clones, Thin provisioning? Does the support team pick up and immediately start troubleshooting? Is installation completed in two days? Can you manage the system without a master’s degree?
These are very basic questions to ask yourself and your array vendor when you are considering moving into the flash storage market space. There are a lot of players that can do one of the many items on the list, but few can do them all. You shouldn’t have to compromise and choose a solution that can’t provide access to all of the features even if you don’t need them all. You don’t know what may happen in the future. Even though you can wait until the fall to eat apples that are in their prime season, sometimes you want an apple on a Tuesday in the middle of summer. You deserve the choice.