451 Research: Survey of IT Professionals Worldwide Indicates that Flash-Based Approaches are Increasingly Becoming Mainstream for Primary Storage

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New survey reveals that enterprises are rapidly transitioning to a variety of Flash-based storage architectures, though cost concerns linger for All-Flash Array technologies

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“Organizations of all sizes are looking to transform their storage infrastructures to drive both improved performance and efficiency, and Flash-based approaches are at the heart of this transformation,” said Simon Robinson, Research VP at 451 Research

According to the results of 451 Research’s latest Voice of the Enterprise survey, IT organizations are embracing a range of new, Flash-optimized architectures as they continue to transform their storage infrastructures. Overall, almost 90% of organizations now have some form of Flash-based storage installed in their datacenters, while ‘all Flash’ approaches are becoming increasingly standard to support transactional applications.

Key insights from the study:

  • The most common method for deploying datacenter Flash is as a tier in a hybrid SAN array, with just over half (51%) of organizations citing this implementation method as in use today, and a further 29% planning to deploy Flash as a tier in the next two years.
  • However, All-Flash Array (AFA) adoption is growing most rapidly, with 27% of enterprises having deployed this technology already, and a further 28% planning to deploy an AFA within the next two years.
  • Three-quarters of AFA deployments support multiple applications, with only a quarter supporting single applications. The top two use cases for AFA deployments are databases and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), while data analytics is expected to be a top two use case within two years.
  • Data-optimization efficiencies such as deduplication and compression are in use by a majority of organizations that have deployed Flash; most respondents – 59% – said they gained between 2x and 5x space savings from using these technologies.
  • The traditional storage vendors, led by EMC, dominate the AFA market today, though smaller specialists such as Pure Storage are still proving popular; a quarter of respondents say they are considering buying Pure Storage in 2016.
  • A sizeable minority of organizations – 19% – is aggressively embracing Flash-based storage to the extent that these organizations have already – or will over the next two years – entirely replaced HDD technology for SAN-based storage workloads.
  • However, cost was highlighted as the largest single barrier to broader AFA adoption, with 51% saying AFAs are too expensive. A further 47% said their existing storage performance was sufficient as a reason for not purchasing an AFA.

“Organizations of all sizes are looking to transform their storage infrastructures to drive both improved performance and efficiency, and Flash-based approaches are at the heart of this transformation,” said Simon Robinson, Research Vice President at 451, and Research Director of the Voice of the Enterprise: Storage service. “While all-Flash approaches have gained substantial momentum in recent years and will continue to grow in popularity, it's also clear that many prospective buyers still view these solutions as cost-prohibitive. We expect these barriers to erode over time, but most enterprise decision-makers will continue to use a blend of Flash and HDD-based storage technologies for the foreseeable future.”

The Voice of the Enterprise: Storage study focuses on end-user trends in enterprise storage. Based on research conducted with over 1,000 IT professionals worldwide, the quarterly study combines 451 Research’s analysis with responses from a panel of more than 30,000 senior IT buyers and enterprise technology executives. The Q1 survey focuses on storage workloads and key projects.

To learn more about the research click here.

About 451 Research
451 Research is a preeminent information technology research and advisory company. With a core focus on technology innovation and market disruption, we provide essential insight for leaders of the digital economy. More than 100 analysts and consultants deliver that insight via syndicated research, advisory services and live events to more than 1,000 client organizations in North America, Europe and around the world. Founded in 2000 and headquartered in New York, 451 Research is a division of The 451 Group. Learn more.

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Michael Essery
451 Research
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