Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

For decades, enterprise storage
has been widely viewed as—let’s
face it—an important but largely
commoditized IT necessity. After all,
every application needs storage. But following
a highly innovative period in the 1980s and
‘90s, advances in enterprise storage slowed
to a crawl compared with other IT functions.
In fact, storage vendors’ products all evolved
to be quite similar in terms of capabilities.

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That fact shouldn’t be surprising, as the key building block of enterprise storage—the disk drive—has itself only seen incremental improvement in that time, mainly in increased capacity and density. Performance, on the other hand, has actually declined tremendously during that same period when viewed on a per-GB basis, because per-drive capacities have increased while per-drive performance has remained roughly flat. Consequently, organizations have been treating storage as a cost-oriented commodity purchase, with IT leaders delegating product evaluations to junior staff and evaluating proposals largely in terms of the cost per GB. Procurement has appropriately taken on a large role. Simply put, IT leaders freed themselves up to focus on other strategic decisions that had the potential to significantly and positively affect their stakeholders—typically by speeding up line-of-business applications and processes.