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Evaluating QLC Flash Storage and Endurance: Is It Really Worth It?

Finding the right storage solution for your enterprise is a lot like shopping for houses or shoes; you must find the perfect fit for you. You must balance performance, cost, endurance, storage capacity, and more to narrow down a seemingly limitless field of options to the one that will best power your business-critical operations.

Considering there are so many factors for choosing affordable solid-state drives, an organization might find it hard to know where to start. However, companies still want to access the kinds of features and performance that only flash can offer. With machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics becoming the norm for many organizations, these enterprises need a storage solution to power it all.

Enter QLC NAND Flash Storage. Explore how powerful performance and compact storage at a cost-effective price deserves your attention. Here is a look at a few solutions that may fit your enterprise needs.

What Should You Know About QLC?

Seeking to enable flash storage solutions to store more and power more, storage suppliers are always searching for methods to insert more bits and bytes into their flash system. Quad-level cell (QLC) drives use an electrical charge to determine whether a cell is a “0” or a “1,” and there are billions of these kinds of cells on a silicon substrate, which means these flash drives can store terabytes of information.

Initially, flash technology sought to store a single bit in each cell, referred to as single-level cell (SLC) technology. But not long after the advent of this technology, storage suppliers realized they could store more than one state by using a range of voltages and thus brought about the beginning of multiple-level cell flash technology. The term “quad-level cell” refers to flash technology geared to storing four bits of data using 16 different states, which results in 16 different voltages.

QLC Flash Storage with Unparalleled Economics

For those looking for quick access and higher capacity, you can easily support your performance-sensitive workloads in Nexsan’s E-Series 18F (E18F), E-Series 32F (E32F), and BEAST Elite F solutions. These engineered solutions can handle the most demanding enterprise environments with optimum price, performance, and robust connectivity. The design and functionalities revolve around three concepts:

  • Diverse capacity
  • Performance
  • Ease of expansion

The E18F, E32F, and BEAST Elite F elevate our trusted, reliable storage infrastructure to the next level with the latest QLC NAND technology, operating with up to ten times the performance of hard disk drives all in one compact, high-density solution. Because of the focus on high capacities and performance-sensitive workloads, the Nexsan QLC solutions can handle the kinds of operations that fuel businesses:

  • Real-time analytics
  • Machine learning
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Big data
  • Media content delivery
  • User authentication
  • And much more

Compared to TLC (triple-level cell) equivalents, this QLC Flash solution stores up to 33% more data in every memory cell for a dense, high-performing solution.

The Endurance of QLC Flash for Enterprises

Selecting QLC Flash storage is a wise choice. Power your entire enterprise on QLC Flash, leveraging the solution’s remarkable endurance. Here are the kinds of considerations your organization should keep in mind about QLC Flash.

 Your Read-Write Ratio:

 QLC Flash’s “block size” storage indicates how much data is transferring at a time. Whenever the QLC SSD is writing block sizes less than 16K, the drive interprets them as sequential writes, which are “gentler” or increase endurance and allow the drive to last longer.

Especially for those who have read-intensive workloads or a balanced mix of read and write operations, you have a reason to choose the robust and enduring QLC Flash solution. QLC Flash becomes even more applicable towards read-intensive artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), deep learning, read-thru analytics, big data, and open-source software storage.

Your Total Data Writes Per Day:

 Another critical point to evaluate is the number of data writes per day (DWPD). While examining the number of gigabytes per day may be more indicative of performance, many users are more familiar with DWPD. It’s wise to look at all the writes an organization is completing per day and determine the percentage that are sequential in nature compared to those that are random in nature, then weigh this against your total number of DWPD. As the proportion of sequenced data increases, QLC Flash is most beneficial as the total DWPD rating totals rise.

Your Total Amount of Data Write Per Day:

 How much data do you typically write per day? Many customers believe that they are generating floods of data and share concerns whether QLC Flash can keep up, but the truth is, a QLC Flash solution can take on a heavy workload. The Nexsan QLC solutions can support a write bandwidth of up to 200 terabytes per day.

The Shift to Read-Intensive Workloads:

 QLC protocols are quickly augmenting other storage solutions because, believe it or not, the market calls for more read-intensive drives. It is projected that 96% of SSD shipments in 2022 will be less than or equal to 1DWPD.  Based on current shipments and projections, read-intensive drives are becoming the norm, and this trend will only continue!

How You Coalesce Writes:

What do you do with your write operations? Are they bundled up and executed one at a time? Are they handled sequentially? If you think of your storage solution as having three tiers: Hot, cool/warm, and cold, “hot” data must be coalesced and sent to lower, cooler tiers, while “cold” data must move to higher, warmer tiers when needed. When this happens, if writes are sent sequentially, it is very easy on the endurance of a QLC Flash system, which can eliminate significant bottlenecks and other performance issues.

Your Workload and the Life of Your Drive:

How much endurance of the SSDs has your current system consumed? This can give you a good idea of whether a QLC Flash solution is right for you. You can also look at the number of hours your drive has been powered on. By knowing and measuring the drive’s life, you can determine the rate at which you are consuming endurance and determine if you are paying too much for endurance that you are not using.

Selecting the right storage solution is a deeply personal choice that you do not have to make alone. We are here to help you find the proper storage solution to enable your operations stronger and faster than ever. When you are ready to explore, you have access to our full menu of storage solutions to select, and that list is growing every day. Contact us now to discover more!