6 Best Enterprise All-Flash Array Storage Solutions 2023

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All-flash arrays are storage systems that use only flash-based storage, like solid-state drives, rather than mechanical hard drives. They play a critical role in storage infrastructures because they have sufficient data access speeds to support businesses’ most critical applications. Storage arrays entirely made of flash drives haven’t always been affordable for businesses; for years, hard drives or hybrid arrays were the best option. But all-flash arrays have become more available and more cost-effective, and they provide the support that data-intensive workloads need to keep business operations running optimally.

We compared all-flash arrays based on features and price—here are our six top picks:

Read on to learn more about how they compare and what you need to know about them.

Top All-Flash Array Storage Solutions Compared

All-flash arrays for enterprises support data-intensive workloads in organizations’ storage infrastructures. The following table gives an overview of our top all-flash array selections, their pricing transparency, and a few of their features.

Thin provisioning Live chat for customer support NVMe-oF support  Transparent pricing
Pure Storage FlashArray//X X90 🟥 🟥
Pure Storage FlashArray//C C90 🟥 🟥
NetApp AFA A900 🟨 🟨
Dell EMC Unity XT 880F 🟥 🟥
IBM FlashSystem 7300 🟥
Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe 8500 🟥 🟥

✅= offered by vendor 🟨= unknown or unclear 🟥= not offered by vendor

Jump to:

Key Features of All-Flash Arrays
How to Choose an All-Flash Array
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How We Evaluated the Best All-Flash Arrays
Bottom Line: Implementing All-Flash Arrays in Your Storage Infrastructure

Pure Storage FlashArray//X X90

Best for technologically advanced data centers

Pure Storage logo.FlashArray//X is a solution for large enterprise applications designed for speed and ideal for workloads with intensive data access requirements. It’s supported by Purity, Pure Storage’s data services and management software for FlashArray. Purity offers encryption, network attached storage (NAS) and storage area network (SAN) unification, and data portability between on-premises and cloud environments. FlashArray//X is a good choice for storage teams that want additional features to support their data, and Purity provides plenty of those.


For pricing guidance, potential buyers must contact Pure Storage to request a quote. Contact Pure to request a demo or learn more about FlashArray//X.

Key Features

  • Data portability between cloud and on-premises environments and between physical and virtual machines
  • ActiveCluster and ActiveDR for replication and data protection
  • Immutable snapshots of data that help protect it from ransomware



  • Lower usable capacity compared to others on this list
  • Lacks transparent pricing

PureStorage FlashArray//C C90

Best for backup

Pure Storage logo.FlashArray//C is designed for less critical workloads than FlashArray//X, storing up to 2.3 petabytes raw. It’s geared specifically toward database workloads, data protection, and disaster recovery (DR) use cases. Like the X, it offers replication and failover features through ActiveCluster and ActiveDR, as well as immutable snapshots for backing up and restoring data. FlashArray//C is a good choice for large enterprises that want a best-in-class array and strong backup and DR capabilities.


Pure Storage doesn’t offer pricing guidance for FlashArray//C before potential buyers request a quote. Contact Pure to request a demo or learn more about FlashArray//C.

Key Features

  • Support for both SAN and NAS applications through Purity, which unifies the two in one environment
  • Consistent encryption
  • Replication between remote locations and failover


  • Designed for medium-class workloads rather than mission-critical applications
  • Supports NVMe over fabrics
  • Designated Support Engineer available for existing Premium maintenance support plans


  • Not ideal for applications that require top speeds
  • Lacks transparent pricing

NetApp AFA A900

Best for security

NetApp logo.The A900 tops NetApp’s A-series of all-flash arrays and boasts a massive 702.7 PB of effective capacity. Keep in mind, though, that usable capacity will be lower, and NetApp doesn’t provide this number. The A900’s security features are a particular highlight—along with encryption, the A900 offers access to multi-factor authentication and provides optional anti-ransomware features through ONTAP, NetApp’s storage management software. For those concerned about disaster recovery and data protection, the A900 integrates with remote backup software and provides immutable replicated copies of data.


NetApp provides some data in this pricing guide, such as controller upgrade and base module costs, but you’ll need to contact NetApp’s sales team for a customized quote.

Key Features

  • Integrations with remote backup software
  • Support for NAS
  • Predictive analytics through NetApp’s Active IQ® Digital Advisor


  • Plenty of security capabilities, including immutable replicated copies and MFA
  • Data migration from third-party storage arrays


  • Pricing information is difficult to calculate

Dell EMC Unity XT 880F

Best for big data

Dell EMC logo.The Unity XT 880F is an array for big data and big enterprise applications. It offers one of the highest raw capacities of arrays on our list, with 16 PB. Unity XT 880F supports block migration from third-party arrays. Security features include controller-based encryption for data at rest and an antivirus agent that supports third-party antivirus software. Consider the 880F for your big data operations—with its high raw capacity, it can hold enormous volumes of your organization’s data, and its management software includes CloudIQ for storage analytics.


Dell requires potential buyers to fill out a form and provide their preferred timeline to receive a quote.

Key Features

  • Encryption and antivirus integration
  • Storage analytics
  • Block migration from third-party arrays
  • Management software that includes thin provisioning and CloudIQ software for cloud-based storage analytics


  • Supports bulk storage with 16 PB total raw space
  • Offers multiple protective features for security-focused storage teams


  • Unclear whether the Unity XT 880F supports NVMe, which could cause slowdowns in contrast to comparable arrays
  • Lacks transparent pricing

IBM FlashSystem 7300

Best for storage optimization

flashsystem—IBM logo.IBM’s FlashSystem 7300, a midrange array in the FlashSystem series, offers automated storage tiering, block deduplication, and a host of other features, including disaster recovery capabilities. Use cases include server virtualization, SAP and Oracle workloads, and production databases. FlashSystem is particularly focused on optimizing storage, with health monitoring capabilities for arrays and predictive analytics. It’s a good choice for analytics-focused storage teams but also for sensitive applications that require disaster recovery precautions.


Sample pricing for one unit of FlashSystem 7300 starts at $112,000. For a number specific to your organization’s needs, request a custom quote from IBM.

Key Features

  • Automated storage tiering
  • Remote mirroring for disaster recovery
  • Storage analytics


  • Technical account manager available for additional customer support
  • Focus on storage optimization
  • Transparent pricing


  • Lower usable capacity compared to others on this list

Dell EMC PowerMax NVMe 8500

Best for speed

Dell EMC logo.The PowerMax NVMe 8500 is designed for large enterprise workloads, especially those that require NVMe-level reads and writes. But it’s not only fast: PowerMax administrators can customize snapshot policies, and Dell offers other security features like MFA integration and a required digital signature for firmware updates. Dell also offers health monitoring and predictive analytics through its artificial intelligence (AI) operations tool CloudIQ, which provides insights on PowerMax system performance. PowerMax is ideal for critical workloads that benefit from NVMe speeds.


Dell doesn’t provide pricing for the PowerMax 8500 without requesting a quote. To receive specific pricing, fill out their quote form, which includes purchase timeframe.

Key features

  • Digital signature required for firmware updates
  • Multi-factor authentication through PowerMax integration with RSA SecurID
  • Remote replication and remote RAID
  • Monitoring and predictive analytics through CloudIQ


  • Up to 18 PB of effective storage (note that Dell doesn’t provide a raw estimate, and that number will be smaller)
  • NVMe
  • Multiple security capabilities


  • Lacks transparent pricing

Key Features of All-Flash Arrays

All-flash arrays play an important role in storage infrastructures because they manage large volumes of data while also improving applications’ ability to access data. While some flash arrays have plenty of additional features, you should specifically look for the following capabilities when shopping for your team’s next array.

Backup and disaster recovery capabilities

Features like replication and snapshots help protect data if copies are lost, one storage site goes down, or a cyberattack wipes out the existing dataset. Backup and disaster recovery practices are critical for storage teams to implement, and high-quality storage arrays provide valuable features for protecting business data.

Support for multiple protocols

The more network and drive protocols an array supports, the more networks and drives it will be compatible with. Flexibility and interoperability make storage arrays more useful because they’re more likely to support storage teams’ existing hardware and network infrastructure.

Security features

The number of security capabilities that a storage array has will vary, but look for tools like encryption or multi-factor authentication. Data is one of your business’s most valuable commodities, and storage arrays—while not dedicated security platforms—have some responsibility for protecting it.

Data portability

This will also vary, but ideally arrays should support some form of data portability. It’s important that your storage team be able to move data between environments, whether those are cloud, virtual, or on-premises.

How to Choose an All-Flash Array

Buying an array is an intensive process, and you must consider not only cost but also features and team experience. Use the following steps to find a good all-flash array vendor and product for your business.

Pick your must-have features

There are some capabilities your team will prioritize over others. Make a short list of features you’d really like a storage array to have. Maybe it’s additional security, not just encryption, or maybe your team really wants good predictive analytics. Prioritize solutions that have those three to five features.

Determine best fit for budget

This may be one of the most difficult steps of buying an array. Most of the top all-flash array vendors don’t provide pricing unless upon request, so you’ll need to set aside time to contact their sales teams. To get an accurate estimate, you’ll need to know your storage requirements quite well, so ensure that you can clearly present your storage team’s exact needs.

Choose what makes sense for your team

A smaller, less experienced storage team may need an array with a simpler configuration or limited customization. Likewise, a storage team with plenty of combined experience may want a more advanced solution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Want to learn more about all-flash storage? Here are some additional facts about all-flash arrays and their role in the storage industry.

What’s the difference between all-flash arrays and hybrid arrays?

Hybrid arrays include both flash drives and hard drives. They’re often a good choice for storage teams that need speed but want to save costs, since hybrid arrays tend to be less expensive than all-flash arrays.

All-flash arrays made a splash in the storage industry because they showed that flash—initially a very expensive technology—could entirely make up a storage array. While flash is still more expensive than spinning disk technology overall, it’s become much more affordable, especially for large enterprises that can invest in all-flash arrays to support their biggest workloads. That doesn’t mean a hybrid array is always a bad choice—just determine what your applications really need first.

What is an all-flash data center?

An all-flash data center is powered entirely by flash-based drives—no spinning disk or tape. One key advantage of all-flash data centers is reduced energy consumption: making that transition in multiple organizations’ facilities could significantly improve overall data center sustainability over time. However, for many businesses, all-flash data centers are cost-prohibitive. Additionally, it takes time to phase out other storage technologies, like disk and tape.

What is the difference between FlashBlade and FlashArray?

Pure Storage offers multiple all-flash storage solutions, including FlashBlade. FlashBlade is designed for file and object storage, while FlashArray is a block and file storage solution. FlashBlade is better suited to support large volumes of unstructured data.

How We Evaluated the Best All-Flash Arrays

To evaluate all-flash storage solutions, we compiled data on capacity, feature availability, pricing, protocols, and customer support. Then we analyzed the products using a weighted scoring rubric. Our scoring system ranks products from 0 to 5, and the best solutions are chosen from that short list. Enterprise Storage Forum does not rank recommended solutions based on any vendor partnerships, only on features and capabilities. We may also analyze comprehensive user reviews and the vendors’ own data on their products to determine whether we think that product is a good fit for our audience.

In our product scoring rubric, the following criteria are weighted according to the percentages listed for each. That weight affects the total score for each product accordingly.

Capacity | 20 percent

We examined both effective capacity and raw capacity and scored arrays based on the number of terabytes or PB they store (and penalized them when they didn’t provide a number).

Core features | 40 percent

We scored arrays based on the number of features they offered, including compression, deduplication, encryption, and disaster recovery capabilities.

Customer support | 10 percent

We scored arrays based on their customer service options, including phone, email, chat, and the option to have a technical account manager for their storage environment.

Protocol support | 20 percent

We scored arrays according to the number of protocols they support, including NVMe, Ethernet, and Fibre Channel.

Pricing availability | 10 percent

Rather than scoring based on price, we scored arrays on the availability of pricing information—whether the vendor was transparent about the array’s pricing or not.

Bottom Line: Implementing All-Flash Arrays in Your Storage Infrastructure

All-flash arrays support large volumes of data, allowing businesses to centrally manage their storage. Arrays also protect data through backup and recovery features, encryption, and access controls. Make sure you know your business’s needs, as well as your storage team’s, when considering a particular flash array. Rapid access speeds aren’t the only benefit of these arrays—when chosen and implemented successfully, they’re a long-term asset for not only your storage team but your entire organization.

If you want more options that aren’t just flash, read our list of the best storage and disk arrays next.

Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a staff writer for Enterprise Storage Forum and eSecurity Planet, where she covers data storage, cybersecurity and the top software and hardware solutions in the storage industry. She’s also written about containerization and data management. Previously, she wrote for Webopedia. Jenna has a bachelor's degree in writing and lives in middle Tennessee.

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