Flash was once most commonly associated with consumer grade memory and found in products such as smartphones and digital cameras. Today, flash storage solutions offer levels of reliability and availability at a price that organisations of all sizes can afford.
Marcus Adae, vice president Strategic Suppliers, Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA, gives five top tips for getting started with flash storage, or, for those already involved, to maximise revenue potential.
- Horses for courses – it is well documented that flash delivers the high performance that many applications and architectures now demand. This makes it the right technology to deliver exceptional functionality in the worlds of finance and life sciences, for example. However, flash is also valid for all businesses, including smaller enterprise end users, where there perhaps isn’t a requirement for an all-flash solution with real time responsiveness, but they are still looking for speed and savings in terms of resources. The reality is that most companies need a mix of traditional disk and flash drives. Remember, it’s not just about performance but also reducing space and running costs within data centres. Therefore, take the time to fully understand your customers’ businesses and how a hybrid solution can be beneficial. Customers will soon respond to the prospect of improving performance, cutting costs and increased profitability.
- Forget about price objections – Cost was once a major barrier to the adoption of flash solutions, however, this is no longer the case. Per gigabyte, the cost of flash storage has tumbled in recent years and this, coupled with the reliability and total cost of ownership (TCO) benefits, means that flash based storage is becoming affordable for all – from large organisations to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Avnet and our vendor partners can help with the numbers and cost justification proposals.
- Compare apples with apples – With the right hybrid solution, flash is relevant to business partners and customers alike, at an affordable price. Traditional storage is priced on capacity, which means potentially paying a premium for faster disks – the more you want to store, the more you pay. Therefore, the aim is to get the greatest capacity of storage at the lowest cost per terabyte. However, flash is targeted at speeding up applications and removing the performance bottleneck from storage. This can lead to paying for increased input/output (I/O) rather than capacity and switches the emphasis to cost per I/O. It’s important to know what is most important to the customer – the answer is probably both capacity and speed. The secret is to get the balance right with a well priced hybrid solution, while selling flash for its performance characteristics rather than its physical capacity.
- Set up a storage seed box – Seeing is believing and Avnet has seen most success where end users are able to experience the benefits of flash via a proof-of-concept exercise. The best way to set up a demo is by installing a storage seed box to safely download and upload files at very high speeds. This can be arranged by using Avnet’s demo centre or by working with vendors. Either way, the exercise will help to continue the conversation and ultimately pull together the right solution.
- Go to market with Avnet – When it comes to storage, Avnet’s solutions specialist business units will carefully help you to meet your customers’ requirements, no matter how demanding. With targeted demand generation campaigns, the marketing team can generate leads for partners or support them to execute their own activities. The storage market is in transition and Avnet helps partners to upskill to reap financial rewards and strengthen customer loyalty. So talk to us about the different flavours of flash.
The time for flash is now
Flash based storage will not entirely replace spinning disks in the near future, however, demand is growing and the technology has gained substantial market adoption due to its clear performance and viable cost benefits. Channel partners have an opportunity to support their customers through this transition. Flash presents an exciting revenue generating opportunity – but only for those willing to make a change and give it a try.