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Flash Goes Mainstream: Part 1

A new study from Storage Strategies NOW (SSG-NOW) finds that solid-state drives and high-speed memory have evolved from their consumer roots into highly regarded--and in-demand--enterprise solutions. The report, "Solid State Drives and High-Speed Memory: Adoption, Practice and Deployment," which includes the results of a co-sponsored SNIA/SSG-NOW IT survey, indicates that more than 70% of respondents are planning to deploy SSDs and high-speed memory, with 25% already implemented, 32% evaluating and 31% currently implementing the technology.

Almost half the respondents (47%) said speeding access to transactional, structured data is the primary SSD driver, followed by uses such as Tier 0 storage for primary data (40%) and storage bursting (37%). A total of 51% will deploy SSD or high-speed memory in the next year, and 38% have implemented Pie-based adapter in server systems.

"The key takeaways from the survey include the massive current and intended adoption at the enterprise level," says Jim Bagley, senior analyst and business development consultant, SSG-NOW. "I was, frankly, surprised by the amount of current and planned adoption in enterprises. But this echoes both reported volume from flash foundries and SSD suppliers in the public sector that report unit shipments or dollar volume from SSDs, [including] Intel, STEC, Fusion-IO, OCZ."

The new report outlines technology solutions from more than 55 hardware and software vendors and organizations with Tier 0 and storage IO initiatives. It also includes detailed product validation and pricing information and real-world use case scenarios, as well as best practices for selecting, deploying and managing solid state storage.

The enterprise storage systems market shot up 18% in customer revenue between 2009 and 2010, reaching $30.8 billion in 2010, reports IDC. The market will grow at a 3.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2010 and 2015, and revenues will reach $37.3 billion in 2015. However, IDC cautions that the hard disk drive industry needs to transform itself and shift R&D priorities to capacity advancements to support enterprise storage growth demands ("Worldwide Hard Disk Drive 2011-2015 Forecast: Transformational Times").

IDC says 2010 saw SSD revenue increase 103.4%, due to strong growth in the enterprise segment. "Yet, the SSD market is still in an early stage of its business life cycle and is beginning to reach mainstream markets," states Jeff Janukowicz, research manager for solid state storage technologies at IDC.

According to IHS-iSuppli, the enterprise storage market will grow 13% in the second half of 2011, with revenue climbing to $4.67 billion. However, while hard disk drives will account for 71% of this revenue, they will only be up 0.9% from the first half of the year. SSDs will be up 61% to $1.35 billion from $843 million.

In Part 2, Network Computing will take a closer look at what's driving SSD/high-speed memory adoption in the enterprise.

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