Placing SSD inside enterprise arrays has been one of the enablers of the digital and data-driven economies. It’s not overstating to say that without enterprise flash arrays, much of the disruptive technologies that are starting to dominate the digital economy would not be possible.
The question about flash storage used to be, can I justify the spending over cheaper hard disk drive-based arrays? The question today is, can you afford not to invest in flash if you want to support technology that leverages data in ways your business could not have imagined, even five years ago?
So, what are the major disruptive technologies that enterprise flash arrays are powering?
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
AI is the enabler for technologies like intelligent chatbots and autonomous vehicles, but it can be deployed for much more than that. Proofreading at scale, image and facial recognition, even copywriting itself can be automated and AI-powered.
Artificial intelligence only works well when fed with massive amounts of data. Different phases of AI place different demands on storage. The data collection phase is write-heavy, the training phase is read- and write-heavy and the ongoing inference is more read-heavy. The key thing to note is that to produce effective AI for your business; it needs to be fed knowledge (data) in volumes and at a rate that is far more demanding than traditional workloads. Ultimately, AI should deliver new insights and drive decisions fast and if the disk becomes a bottleneck, AI can’t perform as required.
Big Data Analytics
Big Data has evolved these days, with new use cases that now include image and video analysis, geospatial data, trading pattern analysis, fraud detection, web clickstream analysis, clinical trial analysis – the list goes on and on. Many of these have existed before the days of big data, but the difference today is the speed and scale at which the analysis is undertaken.
With the amount of data generated today, the speed at which data needs to be processed to make sense and generate insights is critical. Just like AI, the disk should not be the bottleneck that prevents data from being analysed as fast as required.
As the technology that made big data possible has become mainstream, the ability to collect massive amounts of streaming data from connected devices and sensors has also become real. IoT is growing – not just the sheer number of connected devices that we see, but also the amount of data and information even the smallest devices can collate are growing. Also, the ability of analytics products to load and analyse data streams in real-time is becoming stronger.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
VR and AR are serious business tools that facilitate training, communication, investigation and problem solving as well as design. No business will be immune to these technologies. For instance, real estate agents that can’t give prospects a virtual reality tour of the property they want to view will fall behind the curve. The same goes with training companies that still rely on manuals instead of immersing their students in a virtual training environment. These technologies will become ubiquitous across all industries. For both VR and AR, SSD plays a key role as it can offer the necessary speed and size to make the technologies viable in the real world.
Blockchain has been largely demystified and the confusion caused by its original association with cryptocurrency has been mostly cleared up. Companies and organisations are now finding business use cases for blockchain that have extended well beyond the auspices of crypto. As an example, in supply chain, blockchain is able to track every aspect of supply from field to shelf, enabling instant ability to check every aspect of a finished product’s journey down to who picked the crops, from which field, at what time.
The thing about blockchain is that it is designed so that data is shared among all participants in the network and all participants must approve all transactions. Hence, the performance and speeds guaranteed by flash arrays are crucial.
To find out more about all-flash storage and how it can optimise your systems to support IoT devices, click here.