Blog Post

Flash, an option for big data performance?

Scott Metzger - VP of Analytics, Violin Memory at Structure:Data 2012
(c) 2012 Pinar Ozger.
Flash memory is not cheap, but it can play a valuable role in helping companies crunch big data faster and might even save them money in the long run.

Scott Metzger, vice president of analytics at flash-memory array maker Violin Memory, argued Thursday at Structure:Data that putting flash memory at the heart of big-data infrastructure is a must for any business that is worried about how long it takes to get results from data analysis. Metzger’s got a dog in this fight, of course–Violin Memory makes storage arrays designed around flash memory–but it’s true that flash memory operates faster than hard disks or tape storage.

In one case study he presented, Metzger said that flash-memory storage improved the latency–the delay occurring when a signal moves from one point to another–by up to 50 times faster compared to storage-area networks based on disks. And because flash memory also operates at a far lower temperature than disks, companies that use flash-memory storage can reduce their power and cooling requirements by 80 percent compared to traditional requirements.

This probably isn’t for everybody: Metzger acknowledged that customers just looking for archive and backup storage don’t need to pay the up-front costs of investing in flash memory.

Watch the livestream of Structure:Data here.