Demystifying the hybrid storage array buying process

Last updated:April 2018

Buyer's Guide

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Editor's note

A hybrid storage array provides a mix of flash- and disk-based storage that can be configured to suit a site's specific needs. This approach enables enterprises to take advantage of the performance benefits of SSDs and the economics of HDDs.

Hybrid storage systems utilize tiers of storage to deliver optimal performance for different workloads. This mix almost always includes one flash and one HDD tier but may include multiple tiers of flash and, sometimes, object- and even cloud-based storage. According to author Logan Harbaugh, hybrid arrays generally range from 5% flash to 60% flash.

Hybrid arrays are well-suited for workloads such as real-time transaction-based big data and online transaction processing, which require continuous high performance. Hybrid storage arrays are also suitable for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and server virtualization, which require bursts of high performance.

Before investing in a hybrid storage array, there are several key questions to ask. For example, what kind of workloads do you plan to run? What are your performance requirements? Does your organization require long-term data retention? Will this hybrid storage array replace or supplement an existing system?

This guide can help you answer these questions and simplify the hybrid storage array selection process by comparing products from six leading hybrid flash array vendors. These products are broken down into two categories -- enterprise arrays and midrange and entry-level systems -- and their system features, as well as specifications, are examined. These vendors were selected using extensive research into the hybrid flash storage market. TechTarget editors focused on market-leading vendors and other well-established enterprise vendors. Our research included data from TechTarget surveys, as well as reports from other respected research firms, including Gartner.

A roundup of these hybrid storage arrays provides an in-depth look at the features and functionality offered. Using this information and the accompanying product chart, you can compare the specific products to find the hybrid array that will best meet your organization's needs.

1The benefits of hybrid flash arrays

Hybrid disk arrays can be deployed with varying amounts of flash installed to address an organization's different application performance requirements.

2Considerations for selecting a hybrid storage array

Before buying a hybrid storage array, it is important to understand what benefits features such as auto tiering, inline compression and deduplication provide.

3Selecting a hybrid storage array

Before selecting a product from one of the leading enterprise hybrid array vendors, it is important to understand which features are standard, which cost extra, how costs are generally computed and what discounts vendors and resellers offer.

4What leading hybrid storage array vendors offer

Compare the functionality and features of these six leading hybrid storage array vendors: Dell EMC, Hitachi Vantara, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Infinidat and NetApp.

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