Cool Runnings, baby!

A couple of weeks ago, I met up with Joseph Lara, lead IT architect from the Office of the CTO at one of our long-standing and marquee customers (Joe won’t let me use his employer’s name!)  When asked about how his IT infrastructure was running he said, “Cool Runnings, baby!”  That pithy response pretty much says it all.

Joe (a Jamaican by descent) likens his IT infrastructure team’s journey of adopting flash, to the saga of the Jamaican Bobsled team that had an amazing run at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.  Immortalized in the movie Cool Runnings (http://movies.disney.com/cool-runnings), the bobsled team goes from being a pariah to the darling of the games. Joe’s team’s journey was along similar lines:

  • Disapproval – we don’t have a performance problem; flash is not reliable; it’s too expensive
  • Disbelief – wow! Amazing performance; it smokes my Tier 1 storage; it didn’t even blink
  • Embrace – We use flash for all our latency sensitive apps (databases, analytics, transactional, ..)
  • Advocacy – We have a flash-first methodology (active data in flash, archives on HDD); we tie storage spend to business ROI

The team is the envy of other IT practitioners in their industry.

Joe is a visionary when it comes to anticipating inflections in information technology and leveraging them to gain huge competitive advantage in his business. He believed that while virtualization, multi-core servers and gigabit ethernet were some of the key enablers of disruption in the data center over the last decade, the next wave of data center transformation will be led by persistent memory technologies like flash.  He was one of the early IT architects to adopt flash in an effort to accelerate business applications.

“The initial push was hard. Once a few of our application owners saw amazing improvements in performance with flash, it was an easy sell. It was like a bobsled hurtling down the track”, said Joe.

We are in the early stages of a major revolution in enterprise storage. People like Joe and others can attest to the transformational power of flash-based storage.  Just to whet your appetite, here are a few examples of business transformation achieved by our customers:

  • A major hospital improved patient-care responsiveness by 2x while reducing storage footprint by 60%.
  • By being able to simulate portfolio value-at-risk every hour instead of once a day, a major hedge fund generated over $1M a month in additional profits.
  • A reputed institution for higher learning cut the cost of virtual desktop storage by 70% while delivering ultrabook-like desktop performance to its 18000+ student population.
  • A European airline company achieved 800% improvement in responsiveness of their highly consolidated virtual data analytic applications resulting in timely insights for better customer service.
  • National Cloud Service Provider is now able to offer Desktop-as-a-Service and Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service to SMB customers with 2x better economics by transitioning away from legacy storage.
  • Large Public Housing Agency deploying virtualized Microsoft SQL Server saw an 80% reduction in application latency resulting in 3x faster processing of vouchers.
  • A major petroleum producer improved search response times by 4x for their business intelligence analysis and reporting systems.
  • Reducing the latency of data access to rich media and product images stored in the Product Information Management system by 300%, enabled a high-end golf equipment manufacturer to dramatically improve the effectiveness of their marketing and digital advertising campaigns.

Blaze a trail in your industry – adopt intelligent flash storage, give your business a push and see it run incredibly faster!


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