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Solid-state storage proving its worth among users

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More than one-third of total respondents to a recent ESG survey said their organizations are leveraging solid-state storage in some form today.

Based on a recent Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) survey on solid-state storage adoption trends among 223 IT professionals, there’s no escaping the conclusion that solid-state storage -- once viewed with skepticism due to price and performance tradeoffs -- is becoming a mainstream part of enterprise storage environments. Survey participants represented enterprise-class organizations (1,000 employees or more) in North America. For the purposes of this survey, “solid-state storage” was defined as storage that uses solid-state memory (most frequently in the form of various types of flash memory, but can also include DRAM) to store data. That means it resides in a storage system (in the form of a solid-state drive or SSD), in a storage controller, in a server or in a standalone appliance. However, for the purposes of this survey, solid-state storage didn’t include solid-state drives for desktop or laptop PCs, or portable flash storage devices, such as USB drives.

Solid-state trends

To understand the relevance of the study, it’s important to note that it showed solid-state storage usage, not just awareness, is increasing. More than one-third of total respondents indicated their organizations are leveraging solid-state storage in some form today. In addition, 17% have plans to deploy the technology

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within the next 12 months, while another 18% are in the evaluation phase. Given the pervasive media coverage of flash drive technology -- whether pertaining to enterprise IT systems or endpoint devices like laptops -- it’s not surprising that only 2% of respondents said they’re not familiar with solid-state storage.

While there are a number of ways to leverage flash memory to accelerate performance, SSDs are the most common type of solid-state storage implementation. Because the latest wave of solid-state usage started with enterprise data storage vendors shipping external disk storage subsystems with solid-state drives, it’s not surprising that nearly half of current users leverage this option today. Likewise, almost 50% of potential adopters expect to use solid-state drives in an external disk storage subsystem within the next 12 months to 18 months. Looking ahead, standalone solid-state storage appliances -- whether serving as primary storage or a cache -- appear poised to make the most significant gains over the next 18 months in terms of market adoption among both current users and potential adopters.

This was first published in January 2012

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