Why Canada needs to join the flash revolution

Canadian businesses have been slow to adopt flash storage systems, even though the technology has the potential to improve the performance of applications by 98 per cent.

“Organizations are seeing a dramatic increase in performance and lower costs with flash systems, said Jim Love, CIO of ITWC. “If you’re getting these types of results, why aren’t we doing more of this?” Love made the comments while hosting a recent webinar, Exponential Increase in Application Performance:  A Breakthrough Approach.

Flash storage technology relies on a solid state drive comprised of flash memory chips, as opposed to the more conventional spinning disc hard drives.

Skyrocketing Growth

A poll conducted during the webinar showed that half of the participants have implemented flash in less than five per cent of their storage systems.

“That’s a little low when you look at the global picture,” according to Eric Herzog, vice president, product marketing and management with IBM. “By far, the fastest growing storage segment in the world is flash solutions.” Herzog noted that the total world market for all storage systems is worth $30 billion. In the last two years, the market share for flash solutions has grown from four per cent to 18 per cent. IDC predicts that by 2018, 50 per cent of all storage solutions shipped will be flash.

The rapid growth is being fueled by the increased use of cloud and analytics. The wave of the future is cognitive real-time analytics, so that organizations can leverage their ocean of data to make decisions, said Herzog. As an example, he said that if a doctor needs information during surgery, the system has to be fast and reliable.

“Flash storage is a critical foundation for the performance of all applications,” said Herzog.

“This is a very, very big deal.”

Flashy Results

While flash storage is just the next evolution in technology, the impact to the rest of the business is a revolution,” said Herzog. He described some impressive examples to demonstrate the benefits.

In one case, when a business in the retail industry replaced its traditional hard drive storage with flash, the workload time to run a SAP report dropped from 30 hours to 30 minutes. Another organization that adopted flash was able to reduce the number of its servers from 80 to ten. The popular dating site, Plenty of Fish, which is wholly dependent on the Internet, reported a return on investment of two months after purchasing flash systems.

The statistics also prove the point. Herzog said that the use of all-flash storage systems results in:

  • a 98 per cent reduction in application processing time
  • a 97 per cent reduction in physical floor plan
  • a 95 per cent reduction in power consumption
  • a 50 per cent reduction in total cost of ownership

While there are some naysayers who question the long-term reliability of flash storage, that’s “old news” according to Herzog.  That may have been an issue five years ago, he explained, but flash storage is extremely reliable now, which is why providers offer warranties for up to seven years.

The real impact on the business in terms of performance, and cost savings is “ginormous,” said Herzog.  “It will make the IT Department look very good.”

John Blair, President and CEO of Blair Technology Solutions, agreed.  “We feel that flash is the new inflection point where executives will see an excellent return on their investment.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker
Cindy Baker has over 20 years of experience in IT-related fields in the public and private sectors, as a lawyer and strategic advisor. She is a former broadcast journalist, currently working as a consultant, freelance writer and editor.

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