Innovation Through Infrastructure

May 3 2017   2:54PM GMT

All Flash all the time: Using All Flash storage to drive innovation, insight and cost savings

Michael Tidmarsh Michael Tidmarsh Profile: Michael Tidmarsh

flash storage

Why is your organization using or considering All Flash storage?

  • Do you need to drive greater performance for transaction-oriented workloads?
  • Are users or customers complaining about slow service?
  • Are you looking to maximize your investment and save money as storage requirements continue to grow?
  • Are you looking to modernize legacy applications to leverage big data analytics, social networking or cloud computing?

As All Flash storage has proliferated over the past few years, organizations across all industries have deployed the technology to support a wide range of applications and workloads. All Flash storage not only delivers major performance gains, it also offers potential improvements in efficiency, agility, security, reliability and total cost of ownership (TCO).

For some organizations, All Flash storage has provided a path to achieving new capabilities that were simply not possible with legacy spinning disk arrays. Here are examples of companies from three different industries where All Flash storage has driven dramatic improvements in efficiencies and enabled new levels of innovation.

Healthcare: Healthcare IT is in the throes of dramatic change. The infrastructure must support electronic health record (EHR) systems that are growing in size and complexity. In addition, healthcare is an area where mobility, big data analytics and the Internet of Things are major drivers of IT modernization and innovation.

UF Health Shands Hospital, the teaching hospital for the University of Florida, needed to support new capabilities in its Epic EHR system and was up against the limitations of its existing spinning disk storage platform. The company upgraded to an All Flash solution from IBM while also leveraging the virtualization capabilities of IBM Spectrum Virtualize.

With the new solution, the hospital has been able to reduce the size of its Epic database by 61% and is achieving enormous cost savings in power and cooling devices. Performance is also much better: a 97% improvement in the runtime of Epic integrity checks and a 6X improvement in access times.

Financial Services: Many companies in financial services must deal with growing volumes of transactions and the need to deliver accurate, current information and services with no latency and no downtime. For Wanlian Securities Co., LTD., a state-owned securities company based in Guangshou, China, dramatic growth in transaction volumes created serious challenges for legacy infrastructure.

“Not only was our storage architecture struggling to support increasingly busy trading systems and query needs, but also we could foresee a risk of experiencing unacceptable downtime during market hours,” recalls Chen Zhaohua, Vice President, Technical Information Center Director, Wanlian Securities. “The situation was going to worsen as we predicted transaction volumes would grow from three trillion to five trillion.”

Wanlian upgraded its storage infrastructure with IBM FlashSystem arrays and IBM SAN Volume controller with IBM Spectrum Virtualize software. The results: a 100x acceleration of storage I/O, from 10 to 0.1 milliseconds; a 62.5% reduction in trade clearing time, from 240 minutes to 90 minutes; a 15% improvement in CPU usage. Says Zhaohua: “All of this means we are much better equipped to move at the speed of the market and handle an ever-increasing number of transactions.”

Online Dating: Like many modern applications, online dating services require rapid response times and the ability to leverage real-time analytics and insights to serve customers. Customer retention is a critical goal of Plenty of Fish, which describes itself as the world’s largest online dating site with a community of more than 90 million registered users.

Performance was becoming an issue with its legacy spinning disk storage. “We couldn’t get enough performance out of disk,” says Owen Morley, Director of Operations. “When you flip over to flash it’s a whole new world. All of a sudden, storage isn’t the issue. When it comes to costs, flash pays for itself. We had an ROI of two months.”

All Flash storage has been a critical factor in company growth. The main database server now handles more than 30,000 batch requests a second, with an average response time from the application perspective of 4 milliseconds. “When you click on a page, we serve that page quickly,” Morley says. “We want to keep you happy, we want to keep you engaged, we want you to find that person you’re meant to be with.”


Whether it’s financial services, healthcare, online dating or any other industry, organizations are leveraging All Flash storage as a critical tool in modernizing their business model, reducing TCO and driving innovation. If you’re not yet on the bandwagon, it’s time to find out what All Flash storage can do for you and what to look for in an All Flash solution.

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