Solid State Arrays, or SSAs, are shared storage device resources comprised of solid state drives (SSDs). Solid State Arrays typically provide lower latency and better longevity compared to hard disk drive (HDD) storage, and SSAs have become increasingly popular in data centers as a result of taking up far less space, utilizing less energy (a tenth of the energy compared to hard drives), and providing much better reliability relative to HDD storage.
Solid State Arrays are designed to be shared and accessible with multiple physical hosts via shared storage networking fabrics such as a SAN. A software layer on top of the SSA manages the solid state array and provides deduplication, compression, high availability, thin provisioning, snapshots, scale-out storage, replication and other storage functionality.
One key piece of technology that has played a role in the rise of solid state arrays in the enterprise is NVMe, or Non-Volatile Memory Express, which is a communications interface and driver that controls solid state drives and has helped provide the increased performance and efficient management of Solid State Arrays.
The State of the Solid State Array Market
The Solid State Array marketplace has become crowded in recent years, with storage vendors such as NetApp, Pure Storage, HPE, Dell EMC, IBM and Hitachi all competing for market share.
SSAs are sometimes referred to as flash arrays; however, flash storage (or NAND) is just one type of solid state storage, with Storage Class Memory (SCM), 3D XPoint and Z-NAND also available as other solid state array storage options.