It’s hard to draw a link between Digital Transformation and a rack full of gleaming, blinking storage. However not only does the link exist, but it’s a clear and well defined.
It’s ironic that Flash Storage is a technician’s dream. The technology is new, its reliable, fast and has features that never existed with traditional spinning disk based arrays. The fact that storage administrators literally love what Flash arrays offer them technically, has meant that the more important strategic “raison d'être” for flash gets diluted.
CIOs and business executives can get drawn into feeling that budget requests for all new flash arrays are driven by the tech teams desire for the latest and greatest tech, not because it is the fundamental building block which can and often does transform businesses.
Dell EMC has the broadest most diverse portfolio of all flash and hybrid arrays available on the market. This means we can deliver whatever technical spec the storage administrator needs. So where we spend our time, is in explaining to executives that Flash is not an IT expenditure, it is an investment in business outcome.
In today’s world, IT Modernisation has a very different meaning to just 10 years ago. When we used to talk about Modernising IT, we meant that we had written down a piece of hardware on the books and the time had come to buy a like for like replacement. A new server with a bigger processor or another SAN storage array with higher capacity.
That is NOT what IT modernisation means anymore. It means transforming IT for two purposes. The first is to cope with massive and unexpected scale and that comes from unpredictable changes in business approaches. The second is to become an element of the business itself. Modern IT is not just about supporting the business, it’s about becoming the business. Think oBike – the interface and app is as much a part of the business as the bikes you ride.
The start of IT modernisation has to be with storage and that’s where the link between flash and business transformation is drawn. All transformation today is predicated to become data driven. That not only means analysing data, but it means storing vast quantities of data, processing data at speed, making it accessible at all times, feeding applications that never fail and never slow down no matter how many people access them. The demands are enormous and every aspect of delivering falls back to the storage at the core.
The equation is simple, No Flash = Failed Transformation
The large analysts have assessed the Total Cost Of Ownership reductions that come with Flash and companies like IDC will tell you Flash impacts your bottom line by actually reducing hardware requirements, lowering software licensing costs, reducing spend on energy and datacentre space and reducing administration costs.
This is all true but ultimately its not the central reason why Flash needs to be the foundation of your it modernisation. For that, you have to look at how Flash disrupts. Flash arrays have been designed to operate in a cloud era where they are well suited to hybrid computing models – an imperative in a world that expects computing systems to respond to unpredictable changes in demand. Even more than that, transformation means that your business will run on data, lots of it, more than you ever imagined. Your IT needs to more than cope with this onslaught. It needs to take whatever is thrown at it and find ways to make the applications that use this data get faster and more reliable. Old IT slowed down as data volumes went up. Flash is the corner stone of modernisation that enables businesses to become and stay data driven.