2017: the third wave of the flash storage revolution?

We will see more enterprises adopt an all-flash mindset, says one stakeholder, as organizations across the economy, including in healthcare, seek to transform themselves for the data economy and set themselves up for future success.

Jeff Rowe | Nov 13, 2017 12:00 am

“In a few years we may well look back on 2017 as the year the hard disk era finally succumbed to rise of all-flash solid-state storage.” 

That bold semi-prediction comes from Matt Harris, head of Hybrid IT Sales & Presales, UK&I at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. 

As he sees the flash landscape, “with the costs of adopting these technologies falling and significant savings joining the long-held performance benefits, and as use cases in hybrid cloud and software-defined storage become ever-more compelling, the demand for all-flash will continue to grow and fuel digital transformation.”

In many ways, Harris’ view boils down to the contention that “the new digital world is all about social, mobile, cloud and virtual technologies.” What that world requires is “breaking down the traditional technology siloes and moving away from decisions being made solely by IT leaders, with application development and even business development teams increasingly playing more significant roles in deciding what solutions, systems and processes are used.”

That, in turn, requires a new approach to storage. 

“Magnetic spinning hard disk storage runs almost completely contrary to the way we think about systems in this new era of digital transformation,” Harris argues. “In fact, the data processing bottlenecks and constraints inherent with this technology can be a major roadblock to innovation and growth, with older HDD-reliant systems unable to support the rapid iteration of new features, apps and services that our modern businesses and organizations are increasingly demanding.”

The “flash-wards shift” didn’t happen overnight, Harris explains.  First there were “performance enhancements” in the form of solid state drives (SSDs) added to arrays to support workloads when all-flash was perceived as a more expensive medium.  Then came an economic reckoning, so to speak, or the total cost of operations (TCO) savings that were facilitated by all-flash arrays accelerated investment in SSDs.

Now, says Harris, “we are in the middle of the third wave of this all-flash revolution. . . . As part of this drive for faster, more responsive, agile and efficient IT systems that can keep pace with these high levels of data growth and app development, organizations are increasingly embracing hybrid cloud systems and software-defined storage. Both of which go hand-in-hand with all-flash storage solutions.”

Next up?  

“The advent of ‘flash apps’: a new breed of big data applications designed to capitalize on the significant performance improvements offered by SSA technology to process huge volumes of data in near-real time.”