Marketing hype, Big Data analytics and the impatience of people and businesses are driving adoption of flash-based storage. This is evident as sales of flash storage exceed US$11 billion in 2014.
In April 2013, IDC’s Dan Iacono predicted a modest US$1.2 billion revenue from solid state drive-based arrays by 2015. Just recently the analyst firm recalibrated its calculators and estimate that US$11.3 billion in flash-based storage were sold in 2014.
While the early applications of flash in the datacentre are in high-speed transactions and real-time analytics, IDC is saying that flash is also having an impact in delivering enterprise-class data services, including snapshots, clones, encryption, replication, and quality of service (QoS) as well as storage efficiency features.
Originally the domain of storage start-ups like Pure Storage and Tegile Systems (all AFA and hybrid solutions respectively), traditional enterprise storage vendors, such as Dell, EMC, HDS, HP, IBM, NetApp and Oracle, have mostly gotten on board to offer flash-optimized HFAs, and in some cases AFAs.
"Vendors are aggressively flash optimizing their offerings to provide improved performance, longer endurance, higher reliability, and a lower effective cost per gigabyte," said Eric Burgener, Research Director, Storage Systems, IDC. "The most successful vendors will be those that can make a smooth transition from the traditional, dedicated application model to mixed workload consolidation."
Start-up revenue leaders in the flash-based array space include Nimble Storage (an HFA supplier), Pure Storage, and SolidFire. The worldwide HFA and AFA segments will reach $10.0 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively, in 2014.
To be successful, flash-based array vendors must have a flash-optimized platform that offers in-line compression and de-duplication as well as other enterprise-class data services.
End users should strongly consider flash-based arrays when retiring existing enterprise storage platforms.