The industry’s focus on solid state storage at this week’s Flash Memory Summit was really impressive. The level of participation by IT professionals, vendors, industry analysts and press was a clear indication of how much excitement there is in this technology space. Topics and exhibitions covered the full gamut of flash options including hybrid arrays, hybrid disk drives, caching solutions, all flash storage arrays and flash optimized software approaches. And for NetApp, it was fantastic to be recognized by IT Brand Pulse as a leader in eleven flash categories as well as a winner of a flash innovation award.
As impressive as this event was, I had the opportunity to talk to a number of IT folks who admitted that they were experiencing information overload.
Even for those with a good understanding of the technology basics (flash is fast, consumes less power, helps reduce data center footprint, etc.), it was easy to detect lots of confusion. After all, with so many potential ways to deploy flash, and with some vendors promoting a “one size fits all” approach, how can you choose the right path? At one conference session, they heard that they should replace all of their hard disk drive technology with all flash arrays. At another, they heard how hybrid arrays were the right choice for just about all application workloads.
This level of confusion, of course, made it a ripe opportunity for NetApp to tell its flash story and to point out that flash is emerging as a pervasive technology which will exist at every level of the IT stack. Enterprise customers have a diverse mix of needs across a range of applications and business requirements, making the “one size fits all” approach a non-starter. Not surprisingly, attendees reacted positively to our NetApp flash portfolio story. The ability to choose the right flash solution from a complete portfolio is really the only way that enterprise customers can optimize their investment in flash. And as shown below, NetApp truly does provide the complete range of choices and combinations.
The ability to talk about flash at the portfolio level and within the context of each of the key selection criteria (performance, scale, budget and data management) is what we need in order to have a productive conversation with our customers. We are looking forward to next year’s Summit and expect that the portfolio level message will be even more visible to help shed more light on this perspective.
For our view of the flash landscape and an overview of the NetApp flash portfolio, you might want to check out our recent whitepaper on the topic.
See you at the Flash Memory Summit next year.