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Flash Is Rocketing Into Big-Data Analytics

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At one time, all-flash storage arrays were used for a single mission-critical application with a need for speed, usually in big IT shops. Now they’re poised to take over many more parts of IT.

Systems are being scaled down and tuned to the requirements of medium-sized enterprises, while larger, petabyte-scale flash platforms are about to take on big-data number crunching with unprecedented performance.

Falling costs are the main reason. Flash media gets cheaper as it packs more bits into the same amount of space, so its speed advantage over spinning disks is within reach for more enterprises. And at larger scale, it boosts data-center efficiency in ways that can multiply the savings.

Pure Storage has been one of the most fervent promoters of this trend. All its products have been all-flash since the company’s founding in 2009. On Monday, Pure is upping its game to address large-scale analytics workloads as well as reaching out to enterprises that haven’t been able to afford all-flash systems before.

At its inaugural Pure//Accelerate user conference in San Francisco, Pure is announcing the FlashBlade, a platform designed to store petabytes of unstructured data, like images and social media posts.

The FlashBlade is aimed at emerging applications that require fast access to data for almost real-time decision-making. This is the kind of technology an athletic-wear company needs to deliver product offers related to the star players in a soccer match that’s still being played, said IDC analyst Eric Burgener. It allows the manufacturer to analyze social media posts to determine whose shoes to promote.

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