Flash... a-ah saviour of the Enterprise

Flash-based storage continues to move from being an expensive niche technology targeted at a few workloads to a more mainstream technology.

IDC believes the broader availability of products, a growing level of familiarity with the benefits of solid state technologies, and declining prices are all adding to the momentum behind flash-based storage.

To gain end-user insights into how flash-based storage is being adopted, IDC conducted a survey of more than 1,000 storage administrators across the globe as part of its biannual Storage User Demand Study (SUDS).

This study provides essential details on current and future deployments of storage systems as well as more forward-looking opinions of end users about emerging technologies or market developments.

"There are still plenty of end users who believe they do not have the workload demands or budgetary appetite for flash-based storage systems," says Natalya Yezhkova, Research Director, Storage Systems, IDC.

"However, we anticipate that the increasing availability of flash-based products across a broader range of use cases, combined with improved vendor messaging and falling component prices, will mitigate the biggest concerns to enabling even broader adoption of flash in the future."

The pace of adoption of flash-based storage solutions, backed by numerous offerings from suppliers of enterprise storage systems ranging from start-ups to the tier 1 vendors, is ample proof of a tremendous interest in this technology from end users.

However, a cohort of end users is still being held back by the high cost of flash compared with HDD-based storage solutions. In some cases, when the price comparisons are coupled with the assessment of benefits of flash for particular types of data, these concerns are justified.

However, in other cases, these concerns are driven by lack of suitable mechanisms that would allow end users to estimate the impact of flash on the performance of their storage infrastructure and long-term total cost of operation (TCO) implications.

"To overcome the concerns of these users, vendors and their channel partners need to not only keep the focus on the performance benefits of flash, but they also need to expand their messaging to include the secondary economic benefits it can provide as it is deployed in higher capacities," adds Jeff Janukowicz, Research Director, Solid State Drive and Enabling Technologies.


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