To Boldly Go Where Every HDD has Gone Before

By Scott Shadley - 2015-10-22

In my last few posts, I’ve referenced one of my favorite franchises, Star Trek, and it would be wrong to divert from that path. If we equate the data center to the Borg and look at the troubles with Tribbles as trying to control data center growth, it follows that the “continuing mission” of solid state drives (SSDs) is to ultimately replace traditional data storage solutions.

The transitions that continue to occur in the market are amazing and almost futuristic. Looking at the events of last few months, with Flash Memory Summit and VMWorld, some might say that market adoption of SSDs is reaching an interstellar pace. What was once based on a device-level architecture has evolved to SSD use models and a discussion on how we drive adoption beyond the current 5% market share that Flash solutions have claimed in the world of storage.

On the show floor at VMWorld 2015 in San Francisco, it seemed that over 90% of the booths that had physical hardware solutions or software for hardware solutions had something in their plans that involved Flash storage. This is up from around 60% at last year’s show.

VMware itself was focused on driving Flash technology.  VSAN, Evo-Rail and Evo Rack (now called SDDC) all showed implementations that used Flash storage. We are on the verge of a new frontier with SSDs. With the focus on making things effective, fast, simple and easy, the SSD evolution is now.

The future involves looking at ways the SDx platforms can optimize around the SSD footprint and architectures and around various solutions being made into platforms that are easy to implement. A good example of this is in the HDFS space. Moving from platforms that focused on rotational latency removal or adjustments and driving to solutions like Apache SPARK and other SSD-focused solutions is providing new ways to solve the data management issues of ingest, analysis and reporting.

As we look at the revised mission of SSDs, it’s time to look at new ways to improve adoption, education and value to the market. Speeds, feeds, slots and watts are out, and the new focus is on application-focused optimization like MongoDB, and Cassandra. NVMe adoption, value SAS programs and form factor changes in client and data center applications are driving even more avenues of change. Overall, the market is still growing, adapting and changing, and I personally look forward to having fun driving change and focusing on using Flash and other nonvolatile solutions over the next few years.

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Scott Shadley

Scott Shadley