Solid State, Solid Storage
Solid state has evolved way beyond simply replacing vacuum tubes.
IBM today released the findings of a customer survey that demonstrates pent-up demand for solid state disk technology as a successor to flash and hard disk drives.
Customers are embracing high-performance solid-state disks to support growing data storage demands driven by cloud computing and analytics technologies.
More than half of the customer surveyed (57%) responded that their organization needs to develop a new storage approach to manage future growth. The survey of 250 U.S. IT professionals in decision-making positions was conducted by Zogby International in August 2011 on behalf of IBM.
The survey demonstrates a need for a new class of storage that can expand the market for solid-state drives (SSDs) by combining increased data delivery with lower costs and other benefits.
Nearly half (43 percent) of IT decision makers say they have plans to use SSD technology in the future or are already using it. Speeding delivery of data was the motivation behind 75 percent of respondents who plan to use or already use SSD technology. Those survey respondents who are not currently using SSD said cost was the reason (71 percent).
Anticipating these challenges years ago, IBM Research has been exploring storage-class memory, a new category of data storage and memory devices that can access data significantly faster than hard disk drives — at the same low cost.
Racetrack memory, a solid-state breakthrough technology, is a potential replacement for hard drives and successor to flash in handheld devices. A storage device with no moving parts, it uses the spin of electrons to access and move data to atomically precise locations on nanowires 1,000 times finer than a human hair.
This technique combines the high performance and reliability of flash with the low cost and high capacity of the hard-disk drive. It could allow electronic manufacturers to develop devices that store much more information — as much as a factor of 100 times greater — while using less energy than today’s designs. Racetrack memory is featured as one of IBM’s top 100 achievements as the company celebrates its Centennial this year.
These new storage technologies could also alleviate critical budget, power and space limitations facing IT administrators. Today, an average transaction-driven datacenter uses approximately 1,250 racks of storage, taking up 13,996 square feet and 16,343 kilowatts (kw) of power. By 2020, storage-class memory could enable the same amount of data to fit in one rack that takes up 11 square feet and 5.8 kws of power.
Following are further details from the survey:
- Nearly half (43 percent) say they are concerned about managing Big Data;
- About a third of all respondents (32 percent) say they either plan to switch to more cloud storage in the future or currently use cloud storage;
- Nearly half (48 percent) say they plan on increasing storage investments in the area of virtualization, cloud (26 percent) and flash memory/solid state (24 percent) and analytics (22 percent); and
- More than a third (38 percent) say their organization’s storage needs are growing primarily to drive business value from data. Adhering to government compliance and regulations that require organizations to store more data for longer — sometimes up to a decade — was also a leading factor (29 percent).
You can learn more about IBM Storage technologies here. Also visit the blog from IBM storage expert and Master Inventor, Tony Pearson, who’s a longtime storage consultant and who writes on storage and storage networking hardware, software and services.