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Nimbus CEO: Early SSD technology adoption in the web, cloud

John Hilliard, Assistant editor

The operators of web- and cloud-based businesses who rely on speedy website access are among the major adopters of SSD technology, the CEO of Nimbus Data Systems told SearchSolidStateStorage.com last week.

“What we’re finding is the web infrastructure and cloud infrastructure (industries) seem to be the most aggressive (adopters of SSD). For one, they’re typically the most progressive in their decision-making. They’re willing to go out there and be forward-thinking in their infrastructure,” said Nimbus CEO Tom Isakovich in an interview. “The second is that, once one does (adopt SSD), and has a better product as a result of doing it, the next one has to do it.”

The San Francisco-based Nimbus manufactures solid-state storage systems and management software for IT networks, including the S-Class Flash Memory Storage System, which was named a 2010 finalist for product of the year in SearchStorage.com’s disks and disk subsystems category.

But Greg Schulz, a senior advisory consultant and founder of the analyst firm StorageIO, said that “success stories” of organizations adopting

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SSD technology exist in a number of industries - including media, finance, and analytics - where IO consolidation and optimization are being implemented, such as VDI and server virtualization.

According to a study released earlier this month by IDC, analysts expect growing SSD adoption into 2015 around the globe due to a combination of new technologies in enterprise servers and storage architectures, changes in the PC industry, and shortage of traditional hard-disk drives.

IDC said that SSD technology revenue reached $5 billion in 2011, an increase over the $2.4 billion generated in revenue during the previous year. The study predicts SSD prices will fall below $1 per gigabyte in the second half of 2012.

Isakovich said that storage buyers don’t replace their existing technology overnight, and claims that customers are seeing SSD from a price-point perspective that makes it competitive with 15K spinning disk. He also said that customers may be reluctant to switch away from HDDs because they’re familiar with the technology and the vendor selling it. 

“But if you can get around those things, everyone says, ‘This is a very addictive technology. This is where we want to go,’” he said. “So the question is where it goes… A lot of it has been going into servers. We’ve just begun to scratch the surface of SSD and flash technology going on the network, going on shared storage… but I think the growth and the huge market (for SSD) is what’s happening on the network.”

Schulz said the SSD market has been very cyclical for decades, but the current interest in SSD has sustained itself due to improvements in the technology’s capacity and resiliency, as well as decreasing costs.

But he said that organizations considering SSD should weigh the improvements over traditional HDDs against the cost of implementing the technology, as well as whether an organization is prepared to address existing I/O bottlenecks in its infrastructure.

“You would think that every business or organization would or could benefit from faster equipment. However, the reality is, when you factor in cost, not all organizations and their applications require the extra performance,” said Schulz. “This is not to say that they would not benefit [but] it is a cost benefit trade-off. As prices become more affordable, those environments will be likely to leverage SSD.”

This story was originally published on SearchSolidStateStorage.com.

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