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Disk system deployment set to decline as datacentres plan for flash

Survey finds nearly one-fifth of IT departments plan to decommission disk, while hybrid leads the flash assault on the datacentre

Nearly one in five IT departments (19%) plan to decommission their disk storage systems in the next two to three years, and about 40% plan to deploy all-flash and hybrid flash systems to their datacentres.

Not far behind in future deployment plans come software-defined storage (36%) and hyper-converged infrastructures (35%).

Those are the findings of a survey commissioned by flash acceleration and software-defined storage supplier Atlantis Computing. The survey – which also asked about storage technologies and virtualisation hypervisor in use – questioned 1,267 IT professionals in 53 countries.

Software-defined storage is the use of storage software to create and manage pools of shared storage from existing disk or dedicated capacity. Its main attraction is that it brings budget savings compared to pre-packaged storage arrays.

Hyper-converged infrastructure combines compute, storage and networking in one box. This is a trend inspired, in part, by the modular hyperscale architectures pioneered by web giants such as Google and Facebook.

Although the survey suggests a decline in use for disk systems, there is little evidence of flash taking over just yet. The research found that only 5% of datacentres have more than 50% of storage capacity in solid state. One-fifth (21%) have no flash, while 61% have less than 10% flash capacity. However, one-third (33%) do have between 10% and 50% of storage capacity as flash.

In keeping with this, the survey found that 55% have hybrid flash systems deployed, while 21% have all-flash systems in their datacentres, 21% have software-defined storage in use and 16% use hyper-converged infrastructure.

When asked what storage technologies they plan to adopt, the leading area named by IT professionals across all sectors was cloud storage (50%). Traditional SAN/NAS was cited by 45% as the most likely planned adoption, followed by all-flash, named by 39%. Hyper-converged infrastructure was a planned deployment for 33% of those questioned, while 27% were planning software-defined storage roll-outs.

The stand-out sector for planned all-flash deployment is finance, where 67% are planning all-solid state arrays. Having said that, 74% in the same sector plan to deploy traditional SAN and NAS.

Read more on hyper-converged and software-defined storage

  • Hyper-converged storage/compute, such as IBM’s modular xSeries, poses a threat to standalone SAN/NAS in the datacentre.
  • This ComputerWeekly.com guide gives you the lowdown on software-defined storage: What is it, what it isn’t, what it can do for you, and how suppliers’ implementations differ.

When it came to plans for hyper-converged infrastructure and software-defined storage, 2% said “definitely”, 13% said “very likely” and 53% considered it a possibility. Just over a quarter (26%) said it is “not likely”.

Of the main sectors identified – government, healthcare,  finance and education – the first two came out as significantly more likely to deploy software-defined storage and hyper-converged infrastructure.

Finally, the survey threw up some interesting figures on virtualisation penetration in the datacentre.

For example, it found that 55% of those questioned have more than 71% their servers virtualised. Meanwhile, just under a quarter (23%) have no desktops virtualised and 27% have between 1% and 10% of desktops virtualised. Only 19% of respondents have more than half their desktops virtualised.

When asked what hypervisor supplier IT departments have in use, VMware vSphere was the clear leader (82%) with Microsoft’s Hyper-V second (33%). Citrix came third with 20%, followed by Oracle (10%) and KVM (9%).

When asked about future hypervisor deployments, the key differences were a 3% decrease in Citrix and a 4% rise in Hyper-V.

Docker containerisation is in use by 4% of those questioned, but that figure rises to 10% when asked about future plans.

Read more on Flash storage and solid-state drives (SSDs)