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Do You Know What Flash Can Do For Your Business?

Storing information — and finding a way to share it with others only when needed — has been a challenge for humans since the beginning of time. From images on cave walls to hieroglyphics on scrolls made from papyrus, mankind has searched for ways to record information, then has searched equally as hard for ways to keep it safe.

Information storage for businesses has been of particular concern, since companies are often tasked with protecting sensitive personal and financial information. While the computer age has brought about new options for data storage, even the best of those options have some sort of shortcoming. In today’s world, two of the biggest rivals for storage are hard disk drives (HDD) and flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs).

Let’s take a closer look at both of these types of storage, where they began…and why flash has emerged as the true superhero of storage.

On a Planet Far, Far Away…

Long ago in a place called Planet IT, technology quietly came to life and created a new way for businesses to communicate, innovate and protect their information from outside threats. In the early days, things like floppy disks, magnetic cards and CDs/DVDs were the best options to safely store information.

But all of those had plenty of limitations, particularly in the amount of information they could hold, how it could be shared and how much such storage cost. Then, as personal computers came on the market, it became clear that the IT world needed something more. Something that could handle the growing amount of data the world was collecting and could be a hero for homes and businesses alike.

That’s when HDD arrived, creating a new standard for the industry and delivering an ever-growing amount of storage space and an ever-decreasing cost. After bursting on the consumer scene in the mid-1980s, it quickly became the storage method of choice for everything from laptops to desktops. It appeared the world of storage had found a clear leader.

Meanwhile, Back on Planet IT…

Of course, HDD wasn’t perfect, and there were many who thought there had to be a better solution. So while HDD enjoyed its position as the storage method of choice, others were working in the shadows to create a solution that was more powerful and better able to handle the rigors of workplace and personal computing.

They recognized that HDD’s Achilles Heel was its tendency to crash — and when it did so, it crashed without warning. That meant that data would be lost for good.

Oh no!

Knowing HDD’s weaknesses allowed masterminds at Planet IT to create a faster, stronger contender to the storage crown: SSDs, or flash drives.

Flash wasn’t like the other drives; while HDD used spinning platters to store data and required a mechanical arm to write it, flash memory stored its data in microchips instead of platters. That meant fewer parts to break and the ability to access information much faster than HDD.

In fact, because SSD didn’t have any moving parts, they could withstand shocks and vibrations that would render HDD helpless. In fact, when it came to reliability, HDD failed about 4-6% of the time, while flash boasted an annual failure rate of just 1 to 2%.

It seemed that HDD had finally met its match.

But Wait, SSD, Not So Fast …

It would seem that SSD should easily be the conquering hero, but flash still had its critics. When we first were introduced to flash, the costs were high and skeptics were reluctant to invest in this newcomer. Instead, they continued to take their chances with the slower, heavier and less reliable HDD.

Flash refused to give up and continued to improve on its already impressive capabilities. Flash proved that, in addition to being faster than a speeding bullet and able to hold more data than a powerful locomotive, it was flexible and scalable.

And, unlike HDDs, flash worked well with others. While HDDs were designed to operate independently in silos, flash storage was built to be worked into the storage array and also made it possible to consolidate such things as virtual servers, databases and enterprise applications into a single array. In short, flash was designed to bring it all together.

Flash vs HDD: The Showdown

Flash has continued showing impressive strength and improved capabilities against HDD. In fact, with storage abilities improving and prices falling, this powerhouse is now easily accessible for SMBs and home users as well as enterprises.

As flash has gradually worked to show its many advantages, shipments for flash continue to grow while the demand for HDD has been declining. Business owners and employees alike have fallen in love with flash, and for a number of reasons. It’s quieter to operate, consumes less power and, since it is less prone to failure, there’s no need to fear that dreaded crash that comes with hard drives.

Flash: The Future’s So Bright…

Today, more and more businesses are betting on flash and many experts are now predicting an all-flash future. What’s in your future? Do you want to bet on flash or risk a crash? Can flash help improve your business? And what flash solution is right for you?

Find out more about the incredible true story of SSDs with “ The Adventures of Flash: How the Mild-Mannered SSD Became the Superhero of Storage.

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