Solid-state vendors selected as exciting by those surveyed include: Fusion-io, Pure Storage, Nimbus Data, Nimble Storage, Gridiron Systems and Kove. With the exception of Kove, which makes an all-DRAM appliance, the latter companies sell PCIe flash cards and all-flash arrays or appliances.
Fusion-io was the vendor of choice for solid-state in servers, followed by IBM, HP, Oracle and Dell. Seagate was in sixth place.
When asked whether they'd implemented all-flash arrays, 7 percent said they are already using the technology, while 86 percent said it's not currently in their IT plans. Another 4 percent indicated they plan to purchase all-flash arrays, but not for another six to 18 months. Two percent plan to implement the technology after 18 months.
Matt Wattles, enterprise infrastructure architect for Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas, didn't participate in TheInfoPro survey. But he said his organization did install an all-flash array from Nimbus Storage last December in order to address an I/O slowdown in his SAP environment.
Wattles initially tried putting a second set of processors in all of his SAP servers and bumped up the RAM to its maximum capacity, but the problem persisted. He finally narrowed the performance problem down to his terabyte-sized SAP database and loading data from primary storage, which at the time was an EVA array from Hewlett-Packard. The cost of adding SSDs to the EVA was more expensive than purchasing an all-flash array, Wattles said.
The Nimbus array with 2TB of storage capacity cost around $40,000, he said.
The superior performance of the flash storage on the Nimbus array not only eliminated the database bottleneck, it also slashed data backup times from four hours on the EVA to 15 minutes using the new flash array.
"I like the performance so far. There hasn't been a single glitch," he said. "I think got the array in one morning and had it up and running that afternoon. That's how easy it was."
Wattle's environment isolated the flash storage to one application: SAP. But those who took TheInfoPro survey see the automated tiering of data, or the ability to migrate data among various drive types in an array, as the hottest storage technology going.
Automated tiering moves data between high-performance SSDs or hard drives to high-capacity, lower-performance disk as that data is accessed less frequently.
Automated tiering technology, which is being sold by all major vendors, displaced backup data reduction and deduplication in the top spot in "hot technologies" in previous surveys from TheInfoPro.
Additionally, survey respondents indicated that their IT budgets are tightening this year. Last year, 46 percent indicated their budgets were increasing. This year only 40 percent said they are looking forward to more money for IT.
IT professionals in midsize enterprises indicated they expected to see the most belt-tightening, with only 36 percent planning to increase spending, down from 47 percent.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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