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Cost fears holding back SME Flash adoption

NetApp has found that a lack of understanding of Flash technology is holding back wider adoption

At its recent partner event in Lisbon NetApp proudly told the assembled resellers that it had climbed from 5th in the Flash market globally to second place and had gone one better in Europe.

The storage player said that the message about Flash was getting through to customers as more started to appreciate the speeds and reliability the technology could deliver.

But much more could be done and the firm has undertaken research to get a sense of what is holding back wider Flash adoption and there appears to be a lack of understanding and some undue concerns over costs that are having a negative impact.

Worries about price are a particularly prevelant issue in the UK SME community and NetApp found that a fifth of financial decision makers lacked an understanding of the benefits of the technology.

Despite that those responsible for running storage systems overwhelmingly, the figure was 90%, saw a business need for Flash technology. Those benefits include using less power, less cooling, lower spavce requirements and higher performance.

Adoption hurdles

When NetApp asked the 3,000 EMEA respondents what was holding back their adoption of Flash these were the main reasons:

There is a lack of need for Flash as a business solution
Cost is a barrier to adoption
Lack of awareness is an issue among financial decision makers

Clearly there is an educational role for the channel to play in getting the message about Flash out to the market and NetApp said it would also be doing its bit to remove the barriers customers might have put up around flash investments.

“For many businesses looking to digitally transform, the idea of an All-Flash data center has become a practical reality. However, despite the introduction of new high capacity drives and downward pricing trends of Flash technologies, our research shows that there is still work to be done to educate business leaders on the true value of Flash," said Manfred Reitner, senior vice president & general manager EMEA, NetApp.

"We are working to remove the barriers and risk to Flash adoption, so customers can realise the promise of an All-Flash data center simply and cost-effectively," he added.

Last month, NetApp trumpeted the most recent numbers from IDC that showed it had moved from 5th position in the last couple of years to 2nd worldwide giving itself a momentum that could challenge EMC in pole position.

"This was one of the first companies to embrace Flash," said Henri Richard, executive vice president, worldwide field and customer operations at NetApp "But somewhere since that start and today we lost our leadership. But we until NetApp got its mojo back and we had an incredible year in terms of our flash solution."

"Even though this company has over twenty years of history and has been a pioneer in many ways the best is yet to come for NetApp and our partners," he added that Flash was one of the most important technologies to hit the storage world.

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