As a marketing professional, one of the most important data points that I can get is what customers are doing with our products, what attributes are important to them, and how they feel about the overall experience. We recently commissioned a customer survey from the respected 3rd party TechValidate to take the pulse of customers who are actively using Hitachi VSP flash arrays in their datacenters. Having performed these surveys in the past it’s always interesting and sometimes surprising to find out how customers really feel about your products and the benefits customer identify with.
So let’s get started with the sharing. Here’s a window into the minds of Hitachi customers.
Availability Reigns Supreme
The responses to the question are not surprising given the use mission critical cases which are most popular for all flash arrays. Customers who are considering the move to all-flash should find it interesting that reliability is #1 in selection criteria and it trumps price and performance. Now the fact of the matter is that regardless of marketing speak and specsmanship, all-flash arrays are inherently fast. Customers know that they will see dramatic improvements in IOPs and quality of service, but they ultimately chose Hitachi for our reputation in enterprise reliability. Now this is not a coincidence that the largest companies in the world use VSP flash arrays as the platform for their mission critical applications. In fact, Hitachi is the only vendor who’s user agreement doesn’t eliminate life-critical applications like transportation, energy and medical applications. As a designer of nuclear power plants, bullet trains, and medical imaging equipment, Hitachi has placed availability as the top requirement when architecting all-flash arrays. In addition Hitachi stands behind their all flash arrays with a 100% availability guarantee.
Quality of Service Improvements
Quality of service improvements is one of the main benefits that IT expects to see when migrating and consolidating to all-flash. This metric is where the rubber meets the road, where IOP’s become tangible benefits and positive results for the business. I was satisfied to see the results which indicated a high percentage of our customers improved their quality of service and overall user experience. Clearly individual results will vary. As for the 8% that did not experience change, the applications and ecosystem (network) do have an effect on results so perhaps fine tuning may be in order. The takeaway here is that faster response times, especially with a highly transactional application will result in a better overall user experience. Hitachi enables this benefit by outfitting their all-flash arrays with granular QoS controls which allow you to balance and allocate IOPs between the applications and data services /data reduction. The result is more IOPs for applications when they need it.
Virtualization and Structure Data Thrive on All-Flash
Not surprisingly, server virtualization and OLTP garnered big benefits from all-flash arrays. The lesson here is that these block-based use cases are the low hanging fruit for data center modernization. This data point corresponds well with the first “availability” point as these use cases encompass the most mission critical applications which are the lifeblood of an enterprise.
Both Legacy and Modern Applications Have a Need for Speed
As it turns out, although availability is top of mind when selecting an AFA vendor, the voracious appetite for application performance is what triggers the purchase of an AFA. This customer response underscores the need for IOPs as driven by both traditional and modern applications. The top 2 business challenges are driven by datacenter modernization where customer can immediately increase performance and reduce datacenter footprint with AFA consolidation.
Sharing is Caring
So there it is, the results of the 2017 TechValidate Hitachi Customer Survey. It always helps to know how your peers are thinking and the ways they have chosen to modernize IT. Although our customers come from many different and diverse industries, they rely on Hitachi AFA’s to solve common business challenges. I hope these results have been of value no matter where you are in your data center modernization journey.