Reflecting on 2014 and Reaching for the Clouds in 2015

By Scott Shadley - 2015-01-08

Over the last 12 months, the industry associated with all things “Cloud” has seen some significant changes. As I sit back to reflect on 2014, I can’t help but recall some interesting highlights and even lowlights of the year. With my focus being on solid state storage, I get the unique perspective of seeing some of the effects up close and personal.

I’ve worked in SSDs for the last eight years, and I’ve heard many forward-looking predictions that the upcoming given year was going to be “the year of the SSD.” I’m on the flipside this year, and looking back at 2014, it’s safe to say that it truly was “the year of the SSD.”

SSDs are not a new thing, but in 2014 they became the standard of speed in the market, driven by human nature and the promise of instant gratification. From the 4G LTE smartphone users to Wall Street traders, if the information we’re seeking doesn’t come at lightning-fast speed, frustration sets in.  So how do we enable this need for speed? For me, it’s a simple answer: solid state storage, also known as Flash storage. Because honestly, solid state storage is the one technology that truly does deliver data in a flash.  

Looking back, my first cell phone was a brick, a good ol’  Motorola. Now I have a 4G LTE Android 4.4.4 phone where I spend more time than I do at a computer, when I’m not in the office. This phenomenon, known as “bent neck syndrome” (or BNS), is becoming quite common in today’s world. In fact, I recently suffered a pretty embarrassing bout of BNS with my face smashing into a light pole last week in NYC. Yes, it is that sad, and I’m willing to admit it, too. The reason this is important is the fact that the visit to the city wasn’t a personal one; it was at the request of customers. Companies involved in the financial market are having huge success deploying  SSDs to make money—theirs and ours—more fluid and valuable. You can talk to any of them and they all agree—every platform MUST have SSDs.

So is this true elsewhere? Let’s look at the film industry. Avatar set a new standard in CPU and SSD use for a CGI film. Now, I would wager a large sum, there is not one single movie made in the market today that does not use CGI. In a market running at a minimum of $1,000 a frame and 120 frames per second, every penny saved in rendering and producing that CGI is paramount—and driven by SSD technology today. Micron has a partner in this business with SilverDraft. Using Micron SSDs, they took a five-year project down to 28 days. Now that’s a lot of money saved so we won’t have to buy higher-priced movie tickets!

Looking forward to 2015, we continue to be excited about the world of solid state storage. Whether it’s the use of 3D NAND or other emerging storage-class memories, the cloud is going to see even more changes in how SSDs are implemented in data centers and other enterprise platforms. The IaaS, PaaS, and SDS efforts that are growing at triple-digit success rates will continue to require and implement Flash technology, and I have the unique privilege of playing a part in bringing this groundbreaking technology to the masses, while also having the ability to enjoy it as a consumer.

So the next time you wait for a movie to buffer on Netflix, or click “buy now” on Amazon, or send money to a friend in need via your cell phone, just realize that the infrastructure to accomplish any and all of that is only possible with solid state storage, and Micron is a key enabler of that technology and those activities.

I look forward to riding the clouds, creating storage innovation, and having an amazing time in 2015 with the Internet of Things (IoT) and the continued success and growth of technology in the storage space.

Here is to an even flashier year in 2015—and be sure to look up to the clouds once in a while and think about the amazing things the folks behind it are doing to satiate our constant need for speed. 

Scott Shadley

Scott Shadley