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IBM sees a substantial future in Flash storage, announcing plans for a $1 billion investment in Flash research and development.
The surge in data use from smartphones and tablets has taken its toll on corporate servers. IBM sees a solution in Flash memory, which has the potential to process the data faster, more reliably, and with less energy than a hard disk drive full of moving parts. IBM’s investment will go toward designing and building servers, storage systems, and middleware that better integrate Flash storage.
“The economics and performance of Flash are at a point where the technology can have a revolutionary impact on enterprises, especially for transaction-intensive applications,” IBM systems & technology group general manager Ambuj Goyal said. “The confluence of ‘big data,’ social, mobile, and cloud technologies is creating an environment in the enterprise that demands faster, more efficient, access to business insights, and Flash can provide that access quickly.”
Along with investing in future Flash-based hardware, IBM announced that its new FlashSystem line of appliances are available to businesses. Based on technology acquired from Texas Memory Systems, the FlashSystem line only uses Flash memory, which according to IBM enables it to be 20 times faster than a standard spinning hard drive and store up to 24 terabytes of data.
It also boasts an energy reduction of up to 85 percent for business analytics applications, or up to 80 percent in cloud-based data centers.
Sprint Nextel is one of the first companies to adopt IBM’s Flash-based vision, cutting a deal to install nine of these storage systems at its data center.
To help convince other companies to jump on board, IBM is establishing 12 of what it calls Centers of Competency around the world, places where potential clients can run tests using IBM’s Flash servers to see how they handle the data. Centers of Competency are being built and will be up and running by the end of 2013 in China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, South America, the U.K., and the U.S.
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