We all know the IT industry is going through a massive change spurred by cloud computing. Analysts project 6x more growth in cloud than in traditional IT by 2018 (IDC), representing a window of opportunity for service providers that can bring new cloud services to market quickly and outperform competitors in the areas of cloud platform availability, performance, security, value, and simplicity.
To enable this, forward-thinking service providers are placing a greater emphasis on innovation, building software-defined, automated, next generation data centers that are cost-effective and achieve operational and architectural efficiencies in order to not only improve service delivery to customers, but to combat the perpetually rising prices of power, real estate, and labor at the same time.
Storage, a critically important part of any cloud platform, has been slower than its compute and network counterparts at enabling cloud and hosting innovation until very recently. New storage players offering solid-state technologies have brought next generation storage platforms to market with innovative features required to deliver highly available, high performing, highly profitable storage services in multi-tenant environments; features like rich APIs and advanced automation, point-and-click management, scale-out, shared-nothing architecture, and performance quality of service (QoS).
As a result, service providers are adopting all-flash arrays (AFAs) that offer these types of capabilities at a rapid pace, with the hopes of achieving greater operational efficiency, reduced performance troubleshooting, improved alignment of costs with revenue, better storage monetization, and greater revenue density in their data centers.
To better understand how service providers are using flash to innovate and accelerate their business growth, we launched a survey through TechValidate, an independent research organization, and published a benchmark report to offer cloud and hosting service providers a view into how other service providers that have deployed all-flash arrays, specifically SolidFire’s AFA, are using it in their cloud and hosting platforms.
The report details how they sell and make money from AFA-based storage services, how they differentiate their services, their degree of storage automation, what challenges are being addressed by AFA, typical ROI timeframes, and in what areas service providers are benefiting from AFA.
A few key findings from the report:
Service providers are no longer focusing on just managed or unmanaged infrastructure and OS, but instead are using AFAs to move “up the stack” and cater to specific applications and workloads on their cloud and hosting platforms, with web hosting/web content management (76%) and databases (73%) being the top two applications. Consequently, the ability to manage performance at the application level becomes a more critical factor in platform design and deliver.
Flash storage is helping service providers save on administrative costs. The majority of survey respondents say they expect to save 40% or more on overall administrative time for tasks such as performance troubleshooting, capacity planning/design, and upgrades as a result of a move to SolidFire AFA.
Service providers deploying innovative AFAs, like those of SolidFire with guaranteed QoS, are able to offer new storage services, such as performance SLAs and IOPS tiers, creating new profit centers and helping maximize revenue density in the data center.
Get your full copy of the benchmark report here and contact me with any questions!