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77% of Respondents Believe NAND Flash Endurance Key to SSD Adoption in Enterprise

Survey from Smart Storage Systems

SMART Storage Systems announced the results of an international industry survey revealing that 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 MLC NAND flash, 55% of respondents identified cost as the primary barrier to transitioning to an all-flash enterprise storage environment.

Thes urvey 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.

Viewed by many as the answer to server and storage bottlenecks, the survey found that 52% of organizations currently leverage SSDs in their environment, either in all-flash architectures, or SSDs combined with traditional HDDs.

Seeking a balance between cost, performance and endurance, many data center 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 organizations to replace their SSDs multiple times during the warranty period thereby increasing the 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 center purchasers consider when evaluating solutions, including:

  • 41% of respondents say performance is the most important characteristic when evaluating SSDs, with reliability and endurance rounding out the top three.
  • 40% of respondents would choose MLC if they were the storage purchase decision maker for their data center, compared to 30% for SLC.
  • Only 7% of respondents would select triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash for their enterprise environment, if it were available.

"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. "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."