IT professionals are embracing high-performance solid-state disks to support growing data storage demands driven by cloud computing and analytics technologies, a survey by technology giant IBM revealed. More than half (57 percent) of the customers surveyed responded that their organizations need 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.
More than two-fifths (43 percent) of IT decision makers say they have plans to use solid-state drive (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).
IBM said the survey demonstrates a need for a new class of storage that can expand the market for SSDs by combining increased data delivery with lower costs and other benefits.
The survey also found that 43 percent of the respondents say they are concerned about managing "big data" and about a third of all respondents (32 percent) said 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). In addition, the survey found 38 percent of respondents said 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).
"Technology shifts and market forces are fundamentally changing the composition and design of storage systems," said Bruce Hillsberg, director of storage systems for IBM Research Almaden. "Evolving current storage technologies alone would not answer customers' diverse and rising data storage demands. We're constantly researching new materials and processes to extend existing storage technologies and get ahead of the performance and capacity requirements of future systems."
As part of its solid-state research, IBM Research invented a technology that makes it possible for clients to intelligently manage data in tiers. IBM's Easy Tier technology automatically moves the most active data (such as credit card transactions) to faster SSDs to prioritize and provide access to data for emerging workloads like analytics. The system moves secondary data (less urgent data to be saved, for example, for regulatory requirements) to more cost-effective storage technologies. This is a technology designed to prevent what IBM characterizes as "SSD sprawl" or the overuse of the technology.