Last fall I wrote a post on the pronouncement we heard a CIO make to his IT group on adding more storage capacity in 2013: “No New Storage, use what you’ve got.” The reasoning for this decision was twofold: First, all the efficiency tools IT bought (dedup, thin provisioning, tiering) actually needed to be used (they weren’t) and second, the integration of solid state disk would delay the need for more disk spindles.
Have things changed since then? Yes and no. We still think storage sales will remain soft until 2014 as efficiency continues to improve. But there is a shift, it is big, and it comes in the form of:
“What if we could run 10 times as many workloads as we could before?
“What if we could transact business 10 times faster? What would we do differently?”
The first question is motivated by a desire to realize even more CAPEX savings by running even more VMs on the same infrastructure and has implications for storage. But the second question has an even bigger impact. Imagine if United Airlines could analyze and price fares ten times faster? Or if First Data could spot buying patterns of unscrupulous transactions ten times faster? Or if oil exploration analysis was done in hours, not days? The business justification related to storage buying completely changes from a CAPEX equation to a corporate revenue opportunity.
But a justification for what? Enterprise Class Solid State Storage.
True “enterprise class” solid state storage is just now entering the market, systems with all the bells and whistles for data management and protection. It’s Solid State with what we are used to seeing on the High-End SAN. Nor is it the integration of solid-state drives within a traditional array, as this will not see a 10-fold increase transactions. This is an entire shift and re-design of what we have known as storage.
Here’s the catch. Both justifications for Solid State appeal to non-storage people. While the first is attractive to server / application people, the second appeals most closely to the CEO which is where the Solid State conversation really needs to begin. When it starts with the CEO the floodgates open as the market shakers realize exactly what they can do differently.