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Enterprises are loading up their data centers with hybrid flash storage systems in increasing numbers, according to a new survey from ActualTech Media commissioned by storage array maker Tegile Systems.
More than half (55 percent) of the 700 IT professionals polled for the study said they were using hybrid flash storage systems, which typically use a combination of solid-state drives and traditional hard disk drives to speed up data services, in their environments. Last year, 47 percent reported the same.
Meanwhile, all-disk storage systems are steadily losing their appeal. Adoption rates dipped from 41 percent in 2016 to 37 percent in the first quarter of 2016. All-flash environments remain relatively rare with a mere two-percent penetration rate.
Unsurprisingly, businesses are flocking to flash for the speed advantage the technology provides over spinning disks. Seventy-two percent of respondents said improved application response times was a leading driver for deploying flash storage in their data centers. Other drivers include end-user satisfaction (53 percent) and business growth (46 percent).
The study also contains some welcome news for flash storage vendors. Over a half of those surveyed plan to dip into their IT budgets to buy more flash storage each year.
Dovetailing with the flash storage data is the rise of virtualization in the data center. Hybrid and all-flash storage systems are an increasingly popular solution for giving resource-intensive virtualized IT environments a healthy performance boost.
More than a quarter (27 percent) of IT organizations run a fully virtualized data center, compared to 19 percent last year. In addition to their popularity in the corporate world, Microsoft's business software offerings are among the most virtualized, namely SQL Server (71 percent), Exchange (50 percent) and SharePoint (44 percent). Virtualized file sharing services is also gaining momentum (57 percent), but most organizations prefer to keep in-house rather than entrust the cloud with their data.
It all adds up to increased demand for cost-effective hybrid flash solution.
"There is a clear link between virtualization and the adoption of flash storage. As data centers become more virtualized, the low latency and high IOPS [input/output operations per second] provided by flash storage becomes a necessity to ensure the benefits of virtualization," Rob Commins, vice president of Marketing at Tegile, told InfoStor. "Hybrid arrays are increasingly popular because they are the perfect stepping stone for enterprises, as they provide the performance gains of all-flash without breaking the bank."
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.