It’s quite fascinating to think about how quickly things can change in the business world. Flash storage itself, while not necessarily a new technology, has caught fire with companies all across the globe in a short time. Industries once dominated by the traditional hard disk drives many are familiar with have made a significant switch to solid-state drives, with many analysts predicting flash will take the lead over hard disk drives some time in the near future. The flash market itself has gone through rapid change, in par in response to the increased demand. According to research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the global flash-based array market exceeded $11 billion back in 2014, and it has only been growing since. Even more intriguing is the strides made by known tech giant Hewlett-Packard in the flash storage market. While it may not sound surprising on the surface that a large corporation like HP would have a sizeable presence in flash, it’s worth noting that HP didn’t have any kind of footprint in the market as little as four years ago. In just a few years time, HP has grown to be the second biggest player in the global flash market.
Consider HP’s current position a result of a number of factors. Years ago, the company could have seen the crowded flash market and simply decided to put its focus in other technologies. But, as is now obvious, HP decided on a different strategy, choosing instead to devote many of investments in its own flash storage services. This was in part because the company could see the potential for growth in the flash storage market. While many organizations may have still been asking about what is flash storage, HP concluded that once businesses knew what it was and how it could benefit them, demand would increase quickly.
Flash storage on its own has grown due to numerous factors. One of the biggest is a greater interest in big data analytics tools, which requires storing and processing vast sums of data in a short amount of time. Traditional storage options couldn’t handle the amount of information being generated, so companies needed to turn to an option that offered faster performance and easier scalability. Flash storage was the obvious choice, but it was also an expensive option, one that many organizations simply couldn’t afford. That cost, however, has gone down significantly in recent years as manufacturing costs have declined. All-flash array have suddenly become available to businesses of all sizes. It’s a trend HP noticed early on, and needless to say, their early investments have paid off.
There was some concern over if HP’s position would be threatened when the company decided to split into two separate entities: Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. So far, those concerns have been alleviated as enterprises have continued to use flash storage the world over. HP has looked to developing international markets as a way to continue boosting their sales even amidst the reorganization. Markets like in Japan, Singapore, India, Australia, and New Zealand have seen their use of big data, cloud computing, and converged infrastructure dramatically take off in the past couple of years. HP realized that an overreliance on US and European markets wouldn’t be enough to hold onto a strong standing in the flash market. By moving to other markets, HP has basically diversified its clientele.
The products HP has produced have also given them a boost. Whereas many competitors chose to acquire flash storage startups, HP has built their solutions from scratch, making them compatible with their other products. This means that customers already using HP products will be able to integrate HP’s flash solutions easily. So businesses don’t have to worry about how HP’s all-flash array suite will work with HP designed architecture. In a world that has become increasingly complex, this level of compatibility is an easy sell.
Many challenges and intense competition still await. HP may have reached a level of flash storage stardom quickly, but it’s also easy to lose popularity in such a volatile market. Demand for flash storage will continue to increase over time, but it will be those companies that innovate and provide ready made products and solutions that will see the most success.