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Flash storage has come a long way. A few years ago, only about a third of enterprises worldwide had deployed flash storage solutions. By next year, nearly 80 percent of enterprises will be using flash in some form. And industry analysts expect that by 2020, all-flash arrays will drive more than 70 percent of all storage spending.
IBM has been a major player and a technology innovator during the impressive rise of flash storage, being named a “Leader” in all 4 of the Gartner Magic Quadrants on All-Flash Arrays. In 2017, the trend continues, with advances in flash density, cost efficiency, hybrid cloud capabilities, customer support, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), among many others.
Innovation IS the IBM competitive advantage. IBM maintains one of the world’s largest and most influential corporate research capabilities, with more than 3,000 researchers in 12 labs located across six continents. IBM produces more breakthroughs than any other company in the industry, averaging more than 22 patents per day in 2016. Sustained by this pace of innovation, IBM has topped the list of annual U.S. patent recipients for 24 consecutive years, with 8,088 new patents in 2016 alone.
The IBM flash storage portfolio benefits from the IBM R&D-based culture. IBM FlashCore™ technology is an excellent example. The term refers to the innovations that enables IBM FlashSystem storage to deliver extreme performance, ultra-low latency, enterprise-grade reliability, and a wide range of operational and cost efficiencies. One element of FlashCore technology alone – data compression – has resulted in more than 70 patents.
Several factors differentiate FlashCore technology, beginning with its engineering focus. Unlike flash platforms adapted from disk storage architectures, FlashCore technology is optimized for flash from the chip to the chassis.5 The engineering is not only powerful, but flexible as well, giving IBM the freedom to equip current and future FlashSystem solutions with innovations that leverage the latest flash chip technologies, as they emerge, resulting in extremely attractive density and cost benefits with essentially no compromise in system performance or reliability. As a result, IBM continues to deliver FlashSystem products that are more efficient and cost competitive.
The flash journey continues at a brisk pace at IBM in 2017. Following on our earlier 2017 announcements on IBM’s all- flash DS8880 family, our all-flash Elastic Storage Server, our all-flash Storwize offerings, and our all flash VersaStack™ Solutions, additional new all-flash solutions will be announced across the portfolio in the coming weeks. But not everything is new within the IBM storage portfolio, and this is a key differentiator in the marketplace. IBM is not a startup. The majority of storage solutions offered by IBM are based on platforms and technologies that have been successfully deployed in the most demanding environments around the world for years. IBM storage solutions combine the maturity that can lower risk and inspire confidence with billions of dollars of ongoing engineering innovation and investment. We also have the support and service you need to help keep your company’s data safe and available.
This is how we innovate with flash at IBM.
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 Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG): Flash Storage: Growth, Acceptance, and the Rise of NVMe, September 2017.
Image source: — Provided by ESG based on ESG research.
 IDC: Worldwide and U.S. Enterprise Storage Systems Forecast Update, 2015–2019, https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US41581116
 IBM Press Release: IBM Named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for its Flash Storage Solutions, July 2017 (https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/52882.wss)
 IBM Research: http://www.research.ibm.com/about/
 IBM Systems White Paper: Technology and engineering to power the future of business, February 2016 (TSB03058-USEN-00)