StorONE’s SSD supply crisis survival guide

StorONE has announced there is a current and growing SSD supply crisis, caused by the pandemic and cryptocurrency mining and farming. It has a user survival strategy: use its storage.

It says SSD pricing has increased by 30 per cent, and buyers are seeing eight-week delays so far in 2021, due in part to worldwide manufacturing facility shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited production has resumed, but current supply is being stockpiled by the largest technology companies. 

StorONE CEO Gal Naor.

Gal Naor, CEO and co-founder of StorONE, said in a canned quote “We expect the all-flash array segment to dramatically change in the near future due to shortages and price increases, and users need to be prepared for an ongoing crisis. AFAs (all-flash arrays) and other enterprise flash solutions will be very costly and customers need to manage their purchasing carefully.”

Gloomy StorONE says depleted inventories, long waits and production challenges are likely to cause much worse and far more prolonged shortages. It announces that drive vendors expect the high $/TB flash pricing to persist through next year, especially because of bitcoin mining and Chia farming.

What can users do? Make better use of their SSDs by only storing primary data on them — auto-tiering older data off to disk or the cloud. That means using hybrid flash/disk arrays where possible instead of all-flash arrays. They should also look for storage software that can minimise wasted SSD capacity by supporting 90 per cent or higher drive utilisation rates.

That means you should be able to buy less capacity now, bulking up in the future when prices hopefully fall.

Naor says “With such a high price per terabyte, there’s no way to justify purchasing total capacity in advance. Buy it when prices go back to normal, and in the meantime, use tiering to conserve the flash capacity you have.” 

Use SSDs supporting multiple access protocols — NVMe, FC, iSCI, NFS, SMB and S3 — instead of having drives allocated to specific protocols. That should lead to having fewer SSDs overall.

Naor’s view is that “Companies can survive the current crisis by using a storage platform that delivers optimal performance from as few SSDs as possible, rather than relying on all-flash arrays. Staying open and flexible, implementing new storage management tools, and being able to use any commodity flash that’s available will help everyone weather the storm.” 

What storage platform would be suitable? StorONE suggests its own of course, the S1 Enterprise Storage Platform, which can support both AFA and hybrid configurations.