20/04/2015

By Paul Silver, Vice President, EMEA, Tegile


As flash begins to emerge from the shadows of hard disk drives (HDD), and shrug off its stigma as the more costly storage option, it’s now viewed by many as the industry leading technology for storage transformation. With changes occurring rapidly in this space, many innovations in the flash market will be moving from small-scale deployment into the mainstream, and the age of the real-time enterprise will continue to become a reality in 2015. While all-flash may never overtake the total capacity consumed of hybrid storage solutions, there are a number of business models that require the specific results that only an all-flash system provides. Recognising when it is right to deploy all-flash within your IT infrastructure will have a serious impact on productivity and profitability.

Until recently the storage landscape was ruled by Moore’s Law, which stated that the processing power in computers was only able to double every two years. Fast forward to 2015 and significant advancements in technology have dispelled this law and paved the way for flash storage to meet the high capacity demands of growing businesses. With the added advantage of still not taking up too much physical space, this has given flash the upper hand against HDD.

Flash is undeniably the powerhouse when it comes to storage performance, delivering mission-critical applications to capacity-centric users. Its transformative effect on businesses in terms of productivity means that companies within the fast-paced, data-heavy industries who recognise a performance-gap and act to fill it, will benefit the most. This has been more prevalent since the price of all-flash storage has noticeably dropped. This is no doubt as a result of the move from Single-Level Cell (SLC) to Multi-Level Cell (MLC) technology. Lower production costs are changing the industries attitude towards flash, and as a result we are seeing more flash solutions being offered by big-name vendors in the storage market.

We are also seeing this behavioural shift towards all-flash reflected in our customers buying habits, more than 20 percent of our top sales opportunities are now for all-flash arrays, and we believe this will grow to 50 percent in the coming year. In addition, industry analysts, IDC, expect enterprise-flash adoption to continue to grow and predicts sales will increase more than 75 percent year over year.

Despite hybrid storage remaining a popular solution with more than one-third (37 percent) of enterprises, we have still identified organisations that would benefit from all-flash storage. As the desktop virtualisation market is poised to grow to encompass 100-125 million total users, high capacity, low latency storage will be critical to ensuring efficient access to data.

It is worth noting though that even within all-flash deployments, customers are faced with a multitude of choice and are beginning to look towards next-generation storage systems, designed from the ground up and optimised for flash. Still maturing technologies such as Triple-Level-Cell (TLC) flash to improve capacity and well-entrenched Enterprise Multi-Level Cell (eMLC) to improve endurance mean there has never been a more exciting time for storage.

Recognising when all-flash will benefit an organisation’s IT infrastructure is a delicate balance. The storage ecosystem offers a wide range of solutions that meet each organisation’s individual needs, and being able to understand when it is best to deploy all-flash will be hugely valuable. Rapid flash adoption will push organisations and provide them with the ability to segment data based on their performance needs. As a result, reliance on flash data management capabilities will increase, and competition will continue to heat up in the vendor space. For all-flash arrays, features such as scalability, the flexibility to use a hybrid flavour running on the same storage OS, and hypervisor integration will become the primary differentiators and the driving factor behind vendor innovation and customer choice.