As the information technology (IT) industry enters the cloud era, where hybrid IT is the dominant deployment model in organizations of all sizes, the capabilities of primary all-flash arrays (AFAs) will need to evolve to handle cloud scale and agility. Datacenters of all types and sizes will be using AFAs as general-purpose storage platforms more and more and will be increasing the workload densities that these systems must support. A key challenge is that current-generation AFAs have fundamental bottlenecks that both limit their consolidation and cloud-scale capabilities and create architectural risk as future memory technologies emerge. A next generation of AFAs — what could be called cloud-era flash arrays — will be best positioned to meet these requirements cost-effectively, will employ flash- driven rather than flash-optimized architectures, and will have NVMe rather than SCSI technology at the heart of their designs. This Technology Spotlight examines the evolving primary flash array market with a particular emphasis on what next-generation flash-driven enterprise storage architectures will look like. It also looks at the role Pure Storage, with its FlashArray//X, plays in this strategically important market.
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