Why flash technology is displacing EMC disk based storage

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Flash technology

Toshiba founded the flash memory based storage market. With the rapid advancements in semiconductor technology and the falling prices of flash memory, the storage industry is quickly adopting solid-state memory based on flash and replacing the magnetic hard disk. According to the International Data Corporation (or IDC), the all-flash storage array market is expected to be worth $1.2 billion by 2015. Gartner expects that the all flash storage market will be worth $4 billion by 2015. Flash memory, or solid state—owing to its significant performance advantage and low power consumption—is entering the enterprise storage architecture, especially in today’s “big data” era. It’s already on its way to stir up the computer storage market worth $65 billion.

EMC Corp. (EMC) is the market leader in the global storage market. It wants to benefit from the rising adoption of flash technology.

The previous chart shows the market share held by various players in the enterprise flash storage market. EMC leads the market with a share of 17%.

“Big data” growth is paving the way for flash storage

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According to the IDC, the amount of digital data created, replicated, or consumed is getting doubled every two years. It’s estimated that by 2020, there will be 5,200 gigabytes for every person on earth. Smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices are preferring solid state flash storage for their lightness and faster efficiency over traditional magnetic disc based hard disks.

Consolidated market

According to MordorIntelligence, the flash storage market seems to be a consolidated market with key players including EMC, NetApp (NTAP), Oracle (ORCL), and PureStorage currently hold over 90% of the present flash storage market. Gartner has placed IBM (IBM) as the worldwide flash storage market leader based on its 2013 revenue. Microsoft (MSFT) also entered into a deal with Violin Memory to have a place in the “flash storage” space. Currently, North America houses most technology companies. As a result, it dominates the market. However, it’s the Asia Pacific region that is expected to grow twice as fast as North America. It’s known for its economic skilled workforce.

Strategic acquisitions 

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To benefit from the faster adoption of flash technologies, EMC made strategic acquisitions of companies—mostly startups operating in flash memory. In May, 2014 EMC acquired DSSD, a flash startup, that was followed by purchasing ScaleIO in 2013. ScaleIO is a server side storage software developer. EMC purchased XtremIO Inc., a flash memory storage company, in 2012.

Products in the flash market

EMC lauched VMAX. It’s the industry’s first series all-flash arrays available in the market with open-enterprise data service platforms. Its HYPERMAX OS lets users embed storage infrastructure services such as cloud access, data mobility, and data protection directly to their arrays. It’s expected to lead to 50% savings in ownership costs.

According to EMC, XtremeIO generated more than $100 million within six months of its launch. It’s one of the fastest growing all-flash arrays on the market. XtremeIO 3.0—the latest version launched in July, 2014—has in-memory metadata architecture that allows for the creation of the entire application development and test environments. As a result, it enables high performance analytics.

Through acquisitions, product launches, and its market leadership position in the storage market, EMC is trying to imbibe flash technology in its portfolio. This is a must for “big data” analytics.

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