The Shift of the Enterprise Flash Storage Market

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By Lindsey Cobb

Technological storage opportunities have faced an influx of innovation and demand in the past few years. A growing emphasis on data, rising popularity in the Internet of Things and the dominance of cloud usage are all developments that storage makers must consider heading into this year. More storage is needed to accommodate the increasing focus of incoming data and multiplying devices being added in the IoT.

An abundance of innovation has occurred utilizing flash technology in storage solutions for large businesses following an enterprise model.  Flash architecture saw more growth in the elevating adoption and technological opportunities of All Flash Arrays as well as more investment into the new opportunity of “Big Data Flash.” This Big Data Flash allows for large amounts of data storage, fast, easy access, efficient, and reliable performance for effective business management.

The flash technology has proven to be highly flexible, adaptable and stable for businesses, and economically feasible at around less than $1/GB. Growing investment in flash technology will be a smart choice for many businesses as more likely to take a hybrid approach in meeting all the storage needs of the company. Flash architecture has plenty of scalable options to match project needs and data requirements.

In addition to the rise of usage in flash technology, utilizing the cloud has become a common choice by many large companies. With businesses like Apple, Amazon, Salesforce, and LinkedIn depending upon cloud storage, the framework of storage has evolved. These large storage options allow the adaptability, flexibility and capability needed for these corporations.

In response to the growing employment of cloud technology, groups like Formation Data Systems have begun to invest and mature software driven storage solutions. As the development of these technologies become more mainstream and defined, they will allow greater storage opportunities for the influx of rising data becoming available and incorporated into everyday life. As the IoT expands, the storage requirements for unstructured data swells.

According to Mark Lewis, CEO and Chairman of Formation Data Systems, unstructured data will need to be “classified, stored, protected, and analyzed” to assist businesses … meaning it should be “replicated, backed up and subjected” to the familiar standards set for structured data. All of these processes necessitate more storage space that cannot be provided by the current market options, according to Lewis.

To counter these problems, enterprises need to a solution that contains a platform that supports multiple data types and can perform all the needed functions to include unstructured data. Infrastructure dependent upon flash technology and the software based storage solutions are being developed and enhanced to meet these complex needs.

Enterprise systems are not the only industries that require innovative new storage systems that may adapt, restructure and respond to developing demands. In late November 2015, Dr. Erik Deumens from the University of Florida testified to the requirements of research institutions at SC15 conference at the DDN booth.

While both industries require cost effective solutions, the rate of change, security demands and number of accessed users vary. Many research projects involve quick set-up especially in the need of storage and data requirements. It can often not be predicted how much power or memory will be required for an experiment so a system needs to be in place ready to handle the unexpected. Modifications or complete changes happen rapidly, in a matter of days or weeks and the architecture of storage systems must be equipped to handle those adaptations.

Enterprise demands, according to Deumens, happen in a longer timeframe and there is more trial-and-error testing to ensure proper performance. A longer timeline means that changes happen more seldom and with more subtle changes that are truly needed. This infrastructure and system must be set up for pre-determined volumes of memory, thousands of users versus very few researchers and must provide stability for large enterprise corporations and their demands.

As society becomes more data-centric and the possibilities for gathering data grow, the technological storage industries need to progress and respond to such needs. To meet escalating pressures of big data and the IoT, storage systems are looking to innovate on expanding different time of cloud technology, designing faster and more dependable building blocks that will hold more information and creating even cheaper options for the growing storage demands. In 2016, there will undoubtedly be new applications of flash technology and a more thorough understanding of the innovations possible in software based storage infrastructure.

Lindsey Cobb

Lindsey Cobb, a Georgia native and former history major, is a technology researcher who is fascinated by past and future of technology. When she is not engrossed in the prophecy of science fiction stories, Lindsey is likely to be planning her next adventurous trip or petting every dog she meets. Contact Lindsey at [email protected]