Highlights from the Flash Everywhere event 2016

On 27th April 2016, clients, partners and analysts from across the world came together at London’s prestigious Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET) to hear us announce the expansion of our flash storage portfolio.

The biggest highlight was the unveiling of three new IBM FlashSystem products – the A9000, A9000R and the DS8888, all designed and built to help customers power hybrid cloud deployments to solve the challenge of accessing the massive amounts of data quickly for cloud-based applications and workloads.

During the event, Simon Robinson, Research Vice President – Storage, at 451 Research, took to the stage to give an overview of the challenges and opportunities in the storage market, followed by IBM’s Vice President of Storage Solutions, Michael Kuhn. Throughout both presentations, a few things became quite apparent: data has transformed the way all businesses operate; in fact, 90% of the world’s data was created in the last six years since 2010, and 15 petabytes of data is being created daily. IDC estimates that the volume of data will have increased four-fold in three years’ time.

Businesses on their journey to cognitive are known to use data insights as a competitive differentiator and are well-equipped to analyse data and gain valuable market insight. But most companies don’t have the right data management tools, or these tools are not keeping pace with data growth and popularity.  In addition, with the vast continued growth of data, storage is more critical than ever before and needs to be the strongest part of any business’ infrastructure – if it fails, the business fails.

With cloud becoming the ‘new normal’, flash, powered by the mobile revolution, has come to the rescue and transformed data centre usage. How? By offering greater performance, simpler management, and space and power savings.

From theory to practice

Not only did we hear about what Flash technology could do for businesses, but we also heard about what it has done. IBM’s FlashSystem products have transformed international financial services group, Prudential. Since moving all of its workloads to FlashSystem, Prudential has made significant savings – it has seen a 53% decrease in total cost of ownership (TCO) over the last five years, an impressive 75% reduction in data centre space, 75% power savings and a 25% improvement in batch performance.

Another customer achieving significant business benefits as a result of FlashSystem included Bosch, who had already seen a 930% increase in performance using IBM FlashSystem A9000.

Microgaming’s Head of IT, Leon Turner, provided an impressive presentation which took us through the movies of the ages, and highlighted the business benefits he was left with as a result of using IBM’s FlashSystem, which included reducing the company’s power consumption by 3KW per day. He ended his presentation with a key learning from his board: if your storage underpins your company’s growth, technology is an investment, not an expense.

Fastest man on earth

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The event ended with an inspiring presentation from the ‘Fastest Man on Earth’, Andy Green. Andy, a former RAF fighter pilot and wing commander, is the current holder of the World Land Speed Record and the only man on Earth to have reached an incredible 763 mph!

He talked about the importance of coupling existing technologies with extraordinary people to create new, innovative things, and his own ambition to launch the Bloodhound SSC, a supersonic car that will achieve speeds of 1000mph.

But Andy stressed that his ambition was not just about building the world’s fastest car using jet fighter power and rocket power. Their education programme is also about demonstrating national engineering capability and getting young people educated, interested and excited about the possibilities of science and technology to spur on the next generation of scientists, mathematicians and engineers that will tackle real-world problems such as climate change, lowering the carbon footprint and creating leaner IT infrastructure. An ambition that perhaps resonated with everyone in the room at a time when the IT skills gap is continuing to widen at a worrying pace.

To publicise the national engineering capabilities and launch of the 1000mph Bloodhound SSC in 2018, Andy and his team aim to live stream the event globally. But to be able to live stream a car going at such a high speed in real time, petabytes of data will need to be transferred in milliseconds via the cloud and reliable, high-speed storage will be required to underpin it all.

For me, the event really showcased just how important a reliable, efficient and high-speed storage infrastructure is to businesses across all industries around the world.

For more information on IBM Flash, visit: http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/uk/storage/flash/