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

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.