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Collision: How Flash Storage Will Transform IT

In a session at the 2016 Collision Conference in New Orleans, John Roese, CTO of EMC, talked about how the demands of IT are changing and how advancements in storage technology will provide an advantage to those that strike.

Laying out the case for how IT organizations have changed, Roese pointed out what the new expectations are.

There is a core change in expectation of what we think IT ought to deliver. Three years ago, the expectation of IT groups was "build an infrastructure, make it work, keep the lights on" If you do that, you keep your job. Today, the expectation is "why are you not helping us predict new opportunities for the business? Why are you not delivering hyper-personalized social experiences; the equivalent of what you get with Facebook? Why are you not innovating as fast as the web-scale companies? Why are we as a company not operating in real-time? And, by the way, why are we not doing all of this AND being in a regulated and trustworthy environment?

John Roese, CTO of EMC speaks at the 2016 Collision Conference in New Orleans, LA
John Roese, CTO of EMC on stage at the 2016 Collision Conference in New Orleans, LA. 


The new problems presented to IT shops can't be solved just with existing tools, forcing adoption of new technology and tools.

IT orgs are having to learn about data fabrics and Hadoop. They've having to learn about cloud-native application architectures and platforms like Cloud Foundry; new programming languages like Go. You're having to learn new operating models like DevOps.

But what's the reason for all this change? The pressue is real. Roese says that over the last 15 years, 52% of Fortune 500 companies don't exist anymore.

The real reason why there's all this pressure on the adoption of technology and new models is that, quite frankly, you better change -- or else. And the 'or else' is, you will be Uber'ed, you will be Tesla'ed, you will be Netflix'ed, you will be Amazon'ed. Somebody will disrupt your market and the characteristic of those companies is not that they're just cool companies, it's that they fundamentally have exploited technology ahead of their competitors in a market to enact a disruption on them.

It's natural for a C-level executive at EMC to promote new storage technologies as it directly benefits their business. To that end, Roese made the case for taking advantage and upgrading storage to "All Flash in the Data Center" and beyond.

Early flash technology, while very functional, wasn't economically viable to replace the status quo. But this year, for the first time, we have an entire class of legacy hardware infrastructure that has been rendered obsolete by this digitial and solid-state transformation. [This year], if you were going to build a transactional environment and you're not going to land it on a flash system, you're nuts, because it's actually going to cost you more to land it on the legacy system than to do it on flash which gives you 20X the performance.

While NAND flash is interesting, there is a sequence of next-generation memory technologies, persistent memories that are coming after it (NAND). And they are going to do things like blur the line between memory and storage. They are going to change the performance characteristics. They are going to allow us to process massive quantities of data in-memory.

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