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Survey finds changing market for SSD and flash storage

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Recently, June 2015 through August 2015, TechTarget.com conducted a survey of over 600 IT professionals concerning solid-state/flash storage. The effort to conduct this survey was to focus on the concerns and the things the IT professionals looked for when shopping for and purchasing storage. The IT professionals participating in the survey had purchasing authority for the places they worked. For Tech Target, the goal was to find out the biggest challenges these IT professionals faced, and what they looked for when they made purchases.

The biggest concern of IT professionals when purchasing or shopping for storage was I/O performance issues. The problem, according to the survey results, is that there are many different workloads that had to be put on single hosts and, in some instances, could result in trouble with the hard drive. This random I/O stressed hard drives because the hard drives have to rotate and spin to keep up with the data.

Another major problem with storage is the growth of data storage. Both flash storage and hard drive storage are used in companies across every industry, but both offer different benefits and shortfalls depending on what tasks are being performed. Flash storage allows more data to take up less space thanks to data deduplication and compression, but can be very expensive compared to SSD. SSD is the tried and true standard and is much more economical, and is often more than sufficient for most enterprise use.

Flash storage can provide more capacity while using less space, which is why flash is most commonly used in smaller devices like tablets and ultra-thin laptops that need to be portable. A hard drive, by comparison, is larger because it has several moving parts, and accounts for most standard desktops, workstations, and servers in the enterprise market.

The third biggest challenges the survey discovered was that there were problems with storage for performance of specific applications. Examples from the survey include moving Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle to flash storage because these applications are responsible for company revenue.

Survey participants were also asked what features they found most important when they purchased both storage methods. The most important thing the IT staff reported was storage capacity with just under half of participants reporting this to be the most important factor. Also important to IT professionals when selecting storage was the ability to write and read I/O. These products were important, and the overall speed when being done was also important to the IT professionals.

The good news for resellers is that most businesses and organizations purchased their flash storage and hard drives from resellers rather than directly from vendors. An advantage that resellers offer is knowledge of the specific needs of each customer and using that knowledge to align a flash storage option that meets as many of those needs as possible. Another reason IT professionals reported in the survey was that resellers often had the ability to give better customer support compared to the manufacturers. This means less down time and less stress for the IT teams.