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Australia's flash-storage hunger leading Asia-Pacific region

Australian organisations are taking up RAM-based storage arrays at a fast rate as they begin to harness data analytics technologies

Exploding demand for analytics capabilities is driving Australian businesses to adopt flash RAM-based storage arrays in their datacentres faster than any other geography in the Asia-Pacific (Apac) region, according to an IDC regional market survey.

The survey – which polled more than 700 organisations across Australia, China, Singapore, India, Korea and Japan, each having over 100TB of primary storage – found 26% of Australian businesses had deployed all-flash array (AFA) storage, compared with 15.7% across the region overall.

Application development, email and messaging and batch processing were the functions most frequently run on AFA, which was flagged by Australian respondents as a valuable system for storage sprawl and heterogeneity.

Storage architecture was also named as a key driver for business innovation, with 25.7% of Australian respondents saying they were using AFAs for real-time analytics.

Storage giant EMC seized on the results as a sign of shifting demand in the storage market, citing the 60% of survey respondents who said they believe datacentres will be using AFA to run all active workloads in five years.

“We are seeing unique cases emerge as more of the C-suite realise the business benefits AFAs offer beyond raw performance,” said Darren McCullum, EMC general manager for XtremIO.

“They are seeing the positive impact high-performing, agile storage can have on their business – from reducing operating costs to running next-gen applications with ease.”

Key business drivers for the AFA transition include bringing new products and services to market, reducing the IT budget and supporting a growing number of connected customers and partners.

The results parallel similar findings conducted by PureProfile earlier in 2015 on behalf of AFA supplier SolidFire, which produces AFAs starting at 35TB of capacity. The company surveyed 309 Australian IT decision-makers and found just 4% said their IT department was “disruptive”, with 55% doubting their current storage environment would meet their needs over the next three to five years.

SolidFire recently established an office in Sydney to cater for growing Australian demand for alternative storage systems, driven by factors including performance issues (33%), management complexity (21%), long deployment times (15%), lack of automation (14%) and scaling challenges (13%).

Some 61% of respondents said storage innovation “played a critical or important role in enabling the IT department to remain relevant and offer next-generation applications and services to the business”.

Enterprise storage suppliers have been racing to build out their AFA offerings for datacentre replacements, playing on the growing demand for high-speed storage capable of speeding analytics and other high-volume applications.

In June 2015, Hewlett-Packard (HP) launched 3.84TB AFA drives designed to replace traditional storage drives in datacentre arrays, as well as a new 3PAR StoreServ 20000 family of storage systems that scale to 15PB of useable capacity. New designs can cut the cost of AFA storage to $US1.50 per useable GB, according to HP.

HP’s offering – similar to emerging offers from EMC, market leader IBM and other high-end storage players – is entering a market that is becoming increasingly crowded, as companies such as Tegile Systems, Violin Memory, Whiptail and Pure Storage jockey for market share in the grace period before an all-out assault from the top end of town. SanDisk took a different approach by partnering with Nexenta to bring its open-source storage platform to the flash world.

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