Why flash in the cloud will shake up enterprise storage

The big news in storage lately is that EMC is acquiring XtremIO. XtremIO is crafting a next-generation storage array, purpose built for 100% solid-state flash memory. EMC is the market leader in the $30 billion global market for disk-based storage. In acquiring a nascent, unabashedly competitive product to its existing mainstay disk-based storage product line, EMC is foreshadowing the impending flash revolution in data center storage. Flash memory has already transformed consumer devices like smartphones, tablets, and ultra-notebooks (think MacBook Air). These devices use a solid state drive, also know as SSD or flash drive, rather than traditional mechanical disk. Presumably, if you have a flash-based device, you don’t miss those quaint whirring and chirping noises that a PC’s hard drive makes, and flash also delivers radically better performance and battery life. What you may not know is that a similar shift is already underway in the data center: Google’s instant search and Facebook’s performance intensive applications are powered by flash rather than hard drives.