Flash Forward

By Jay Kidd, Chief Technology Officer

If you missed my last post, feel free to grab it before reading onward. I talked about the difference between disruptive and transformative technologies and related it to flash technology adoption.


So, What Is Next for Flash?

As echoed in my annual technology predictions, the flash market is now seeing increased growth as the presence of mainstream enterprise storage companies validates the key role that flash will play in the future of IT. Granted, flash is not magic. One size does not fit all. It does not fix poorly configured systems, and it is not appropriate for all environments. Some environments simply don’t have the performance requirements to see gains from flash. And while flash will likely match the costs of 10K and 15K RPM disks soon, it will still cost 8 to10 times more than capacity SATA drives for many years. 

Therefore, for this reason, the battle between mainstream players and startups will be won by those that best enable customers to deploy the right amount of flash to have the optimal performance, reliability, and scalability for their specific needs. Flash conversations with a customer must begin and end with what is actually appropriate for the customer’s business. This is where companies that have a portfolio of offerings will often be able to provide a better solution.


Flash Is Disruptive. We Make It Transformative.

At NetApp, we have believed for years that flash is transformative technology, and we strive to maximize its value across the entire compute, network, and storage stack. We know that customers will deploy flash to solve a variety of challenges, but this market is clearly not “one-size-fits-all.” As a result, our broad portfolio includes both hybrid and all-flash offerings. Adoption of our flash solutions is increasing. We shipped almost 18PB of flash storage in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014 and 93PB of flash storage to date.

Our recently refreshed FAS offerings—in both hybrid and all-flash configurations—help organizations of all shapes and sizes optimize their infrastructures with the right amount of flash where they need it, when they need it. The ability to add all-flash FAS systems to a NetApp clustered Data ONTAP® system enables flash to become a shared resource that fits in seamlessly with existing IT operations. You immediately have all of the VMware®, Microsoft®, and other application integrations. You have full data replication technologies. You have deduplication, compression, thin provisioning, and cloning technologies. And you can move application workloads between all-flash, hybrid, and low-cost disk storage nondisruptively as the service-level requirements of the app change over time. The all-flash FAS inserts the disruptive technology of flash in a completely nondisruptive way. That is transformative. 

The NetApp® FAS8080 EX is our most powerful scale-out array ever, and the new entry-level FAS2500 means that all businesses, regardless of where they are in the development stage or how heavy their workloads are, can realize the benefits of flash. This complements our other flash offerings, such as the EF flash array and the forthcoming FlashRay™.

Customers Are in Transition.

A strategy of delivering innovative best-of-breed solutions that are cloud-integrated and flash-accelerated is well aligned with our customers’ top priorities. IT organizations are in the midst of a transition as they evaluate the role of new technologies and delivery models in their environments. Customers continue to adopt our latest flash innovations, confident that our strategy will help them navigate this transition and position themselves well for the future.

Attending this year’s Flash Memory Summit, August 5-7 in Santa Clara, CA? Visit NetApp Booth #217