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All Flash

By Steve Jones,

I was reading a piece recently that was titled: Switch Your Databases to Flash Storage Now or You're Doing It Wrong. It's a provocative piece, one that has lots of strong comments about the author's style and claims. It's from the CTO of Aerospike, a NoSQL database, and it tries to compare the bottleneck of disks to memory to the network, with the conclusion that your money is better spent on faster SSD drives than tons of RAM.

I don't know if that's true for NoSQL databases, many of which want to run in memory, but I do think there's something here for SQL Server installations. Many of us do have smaller databases, which are much smaller than 1TB. At those sizes, it does make sense these days to look at an SSD solution for your database. At least for tempdb, now that the MTBF of many SSD vendors is large enough to handle the load. Even if you had to replace a tempdb SSD every year, I'd think the performance improvement would make the investment worthwhile.

Technology is changing for data professionals, especially for SQL Server administrators and developers. We are seeing the platform grown and expand, and the changes in what SQL Server allows us to do, and the changes in cost, mean that we should re-evaluate how we approach our systems. Hardware constantly improves, and some of these changes can be a better short term investment than spending a tremendous amount of development and testing time to improve things.

In the long run learning to write better code, and choosing better indexes are great solutions, but they'll work well with faster storage, which might buy you the time to improve your skills.

Steve Jones


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