Flash Wave Gaining Strength as Prices Drop

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The flash wave is gaining momentum, driven in part by dropping prices as it moves into its sixth year, writes Wikibon Analyst Stuart Miniman. When the first flash storage products, from pioneers like Fusion-IO, appeared, they were focused on a very few use cases that demanded very fast data access, beyond what spinning disk could provide. As prices have dropped, the technologies have become more accepted, major vendors like EMC have entered the market, and the number of flash startups and the use cases that can justify flash have both grown.

The latest entrant into the flash arena are PernixData, which just came out of stealth and announced its “Flash Virtualization Platform”, which embeds software in the VMware hypervisor to enable server-side flash to be clustered and scale out. This allows the flash to be managed in the VM, which is the basic work unit in a virtualized environment. Virsto (recently acquired by VMware), Tintri, and SimpliVity have similar approaches to managing flash in virtualized environments. part by dropping prices as it moves into its sixth year, writes Wikibon Analyst Stuart Miniman. When the first flash storage products, from pioneers like Fusion-IO, appeared, they were focused on a very few use cases that demanded very fast data access, beyond what spinning disk could provide. As prices have dropped, the technologies have become more accepted, major vendors like EMC have entered the market, and the number of flash startups and the use cases that can justify flash have both grown.

Virident recently announced its FlashMAX Connect Suite software, extending the functionality of its PCIe server-side flash storage across servers and as part of a SAN. And NetApp has made two major announcements, of the EF540 all-flash array and three high-end systems for large enterprises.

As the flash wave enters its sixth year, the pace of activity, and of adoption, is picking up rapidly. CIOs, Miniman writes, should examine the numerous use cases for hybrid and all-flash storage systems. Enhanced offerings for extending server-base solutions are not yet ready for production but should be on the list for testing this year. The rate of innovation is faster than the average enterprise storage refresh cycle.

 

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About Bert Latamore

Bert Latamore is a journalist and freelance writer with 30 years of experience in the IT industry including four years at Gartner and five at META Group. He is presently the editor at Wikibon.org, and associate editor at Seybold Publishing. He follows the mobile computing market, including PDAs and tablet computing, and related subjects such as both a user of PDAs and tablet computers for more than 20 years and as a strategic analyst. He was the first person at Gartner to carry a pocket computer, in 1989.