Disk Storage Falling out of Favor in the Data Center: Survey

Posted on January 08, 2016 By Pedro Hernandez


Atlantis Computing, a Mountain View, Calif.-based software-defined storage specialist, has some good news for flash storage vendors.

The company discovered in a survey (registration required) of 1,267 IT professionals, conducted by ActualTech Media, that a sizable number of organizations are getting ready to say good-bye to traditional disk-based storage systems. "A full 19 percent of respondents – almost 1 in 5 – say that they will fully decommission their disk-based storage systems over the next two to three years," wrote Scott D. Lowe, co-Founder of ActualTech Media, in a company blog post.

The winners: enterprise flash storage vendors. Lowe noted "that the primary gainers in the same timeframe will be all flash arrays and hybrid storage arrays, but 35 percent also say that they will expand their use of software-defined storage and hyperconverged infrastructure."

It's no surprise the industry is moving toward flash, particularly now that the economics of flash storage are improving, said Lowe.

"Flash storage has been plummeting in price for quite some time and is expected to hit price parity with disk within the next few years," observed Lowe. "Once raw price parity is achieved, expect to see spinning disk quickly fall off in terms of usage. Flash simply carries with it far too much performance potential when compared to disk."

Currently, just 1 percent of data centers have gone all-flash, according to the report. Six percent of data centers are using flash for more than half of their storage needs.

All told, flash accounts for less than 10 percent of the enterprise storage capacity of most data centers (60 percent). Twenty-one percent of data centers contain no flash storage to speak of.

Software-defined storage (SDS) and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) are also growing in popularity, helping to change the way enterprises budget for storage.

"Rather than buying three to five years' worth of storage, data center administrators can take more of a 'just in time' approach to storage, thanks to the easy scalability opportunities that present themselves with these architectural options," said Lowe.

Still, SDS and HCI have some convincing to do.

A slim majority of respondents (53 percent) were on the fence about deploying SDS/HCI technologies in their data centers. Thirteen percent said they were very likely, while 2 percent were making definite plans. Twenty-six percent said that it was unlikely they would jump on the SDS/HCI bandwagon and 6 percent said there was no chance the technologies would touch their systems.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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