Last week, Gartner released their first ever Magic Quadrant for Solid State Arrays (SSAs), also known as All-Flash Arrays (AFAs). We’re proud to have EMC recognized in the ‘Leaders’ quadrant (Figure 1), a testament to EMC’s flash strategy and the execution of bringing XtremIO to market near the end of last year. Flash arrays have been around for quite a while, anywhere from years to decades depending on the vendor. So why is Gartner only now beginning to track a Magic Quadrant specific to them?
I believe the answer is straightforward. Until recently, flash arrays were very expensive, very limited devices that were targeted only at boosting performance where price was no object. The market for them was small as were the use cases. They weren’t enterprise-ready, serving only a niche performance market. EMC never entered this niche. At our scale you need to be bolder to move the needle and that’s why in 2012 we acquired XtremIO, bringing it to market in November 2013.
Since then, in well under a year, EMC has surpassed all others in the SSA/AFA market and XtremIO has assumed the leadership position. Why is this? I believe this answer is also straightforward. XtremIO is magic technology.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
It’s easy to think about XtremIO as just another flash array that’s great for boosting performance on some critical application. But if that’s the only way you think about it, you’re missing the huge value it brings across your data center. It’s common for XtremIO customers to begin with a targeted workload in mind, but quickly find out they can expand the use cases for the array with additional applications and workloads, and to revise their flash strategy to use XtremIO across the board. Consider what a couple of XtremIO customers recently said:
“When you’re doing a 100,000 IOPS why wouldn’t I put everything on this? We get a boatload of business value for OLTP. I’m having a hard time saying ‘why not?’” – Steve Vogler, USI Holdings
“After our great experience with VDI, we had a SQL server that was on physical infrastructure that took 6-7 hours to process and load. I reached out to the application owners, and said ‘Let’s try to put this in a virtual infrastructure’. I gave them a virtual machine with less CPU and memory but on the XtremIO flash storage array. It outperformed the physical server by 2-3x.” – Craig Englund, Boston Scientific
To these customers, XtremIO is magic. It transforms their datacenters. It transforms their businesses. It transforms they way they spend their time because they no longer worry about provisioning or tuning complexity. If you haven’t taken a hard look at XtremIO, you’re missing out on one of the most important technological shifts to come along in a decade.
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