Rise of big data, IoT boosts all-flash demand in HK

Rise of big data, IoT boosts all-flash demandThis year, Hong Kong once again found itself on the technology race track. In September, the Innovation and Technology Bureau announced it has embarked on a consultancy study to develop the “Smart City Blueprint” for the city, to be completed in mid-2017. Meanwhile, discussions around the use of big data analytics, the Internet of things (IoT) and even artificial intelligence (AI) are gathering steam in the local IT scene.

From an infrastructure perspective, the use of IoT and big data analytics, which involve the collection, processing and storage of massive amounts of data, introduces new architectures and technologies that are typically more distributed and utilize different protocols. In particular, IoT gained momentum thanks to the lowered cost of sensors and inexpensive network connectivity. The question to ask, therefore, is how will these tech trends impact the development of storage technologies in Hong Kong?

To put things in context, let’s explore how much data should a CIO expect to deal with in a business scenario where IoT is adopted.

In the case of Didi Chuxing, an Uber-like ride sharing service in mainland China, the company reportedly generates 70TB worth of data a day from the sensors in the vehicles and other inputs. It processes more than nine billion routing requests, and produces over 13 billion location points. All these data assist the company to make real-time decisions in reducing the trip time and the routing required around traffic.

“These [tech] trends are exciting for us because they require significant storage density and instant infrastructure that only all-flash storage can provide,” said Michael Cornwell, vice president and CTO, Asia Pacific and Japan, Pure Storage.

Resurgence of all-flash storage

In 2016, all-flash storage saw a rapid rise in demand compared to 2015. Also known as solid-state arrays (SSA), Gartner said flash storage has matured beyond performance-oriented workloads.

Based on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Solid-State Arrays report released in August, flash storage brings compelling benefits to all primary storage plus old and new unexpected workloads.

Looking beyond 2017, all-flash storage is predicted to display prevalence in data centers. In the same report, Gartner predicted that: 1) By 2021, 50% of data centers will use SSAs for high-performance computing and big data workloads, up from less than one percent today; and 2) By 2020, 50% of data centers will use only SSAs for primary data, instead of hybrid arrays, up from less than one percent today.

The growth of all-flash storage is indeed closely tied to the rise of big data and IoT adoption.

One of the reasons is that traditional storage arrays with RAID (redundant array of independent disks) protection, and the corresponding management tools are difficult to meet the exploding need of data generated by big data and IoT adoption, said Johnson Ho, senior manager, Storage Business Unit, IBM Systems Hardware, IBM China/ Hong Kong.

For enterprise data centers, flash storage prevails thanks to the availability of lower priced, high throughput and low latency, said Raymond Goh, head of systems engineering, Veeam Asia and Japan. As he observed, high performance disk sales dropped rapidly with the emergence of flash storage.