Why Flash for DoD? – Not a question of if, but when

A blog post by Mike Walsh, Regional Director, U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, NetApp U.S. Public Sector 

America's armed forces have long voiced the need to store and process data and turn it into actionable information.  In fact, NetApp's ability to efficiently store and manage large amounts of both tactical and enterprise data has made us the leading provider of data storage to the Department of Defense.

Now those requirements are evolving. In order to outperform their adversaries, our military units must process information in ever-faster decision/action cycles.  The latency in accessing data stored on traditional spinning disc media is no longer acceptable in some instances.  Flash storage, delivering near instantaneous data access from solid-state drives (SSD), is quickly becoming the standard.

Moreover, the size, weight and power – known in the military as SWaP – of traditional spinning media exceed the design criteria of many modern deployable tactical systems.  For example, the Army's Deployable Common Ground Station (DCGS-A) demands faster, smaller, lighter, more energy efficient data storage and processing on its vehicles that are part of expeditionary Brigade Combat Teams.  The Marines have the same requirements.  Flash storage meets those demands.  In many cases, flash arrays can reduce space utilization, power, and cooling by up to 95%.

NetApp, long the industry leader in flash integration with over 36 petabytes of flash storage accelerating more than 3 exabytes of traditional storage capacity, includes all-flash arrays in its solution portfolio.  Our approach meets the needs of our military customers by integrating flash technology into all of our systems with rich software features that enable warfighters to realize superb  data storage and management performance with remarkable efficiency in a very small form factor. Our two all flash array products, the EF540 and the recently announced future FlashRay product line, are both designed to address the military's very challenging performance and SWaP requirements.

In sum, flash storage for the battlefield is quickly becoming the standard. Tactical mission success is built on the efficiency and speed of information processing – and NetApp is ready to enable that success. 

Mike Walsh, Regional Director, U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines, NetApp U.S. Public Sector