On February 25th, we hosted over 50 of the top storage industry and financial analysts from around the world here in Boulder, CO for SolidFire’s second annual Analyst Day. The event more than doubled in size this year, and we kicked things off the night before with a beer tasting and tour of the West Flanders Brewery along with the launch of the new SolidFire Scale-Out Saison (just one of the perks of having a master brewer on staff).

Analyst Day is one of my favorite events of the year.

Attendees gather for beer tasting and food on the eve of SolidFire’s second annual Analyst Day in Boulder, Colorado.

It is an opportunity for us and our attendees to slow the world down a bit and dig deeply into SolidFire’s technology, business execution, customer success, and plans for the coming year. And this year’s theme was a thought-provoking one:  What does a Next Generation Storage Company look like — from a technology, customer, and go-to-market perspective? As many discovered, it doesn’t look anything like the companies you’re used to.

Next Generation Technology

If you have followed any press around SolidFire over the past week, most of it has centered around two big technology announcements: the launch of SolidFire’s Element X Program, which makes our software available to hyperscale customers, and our FlashForward Program, which guarantees hardware and software compatibility and unlimited drive wear over the life of the platform.

Element X on its own is an exciting announcement for us and is an advancement that allows SolidFire to go deeper with hyperscale customers than any other storage company. But it’s also one of four ways that SolidFire makes its award-winning, all-flash platform available to everyone, from the startup around the corner to the world’s largest hyperscale customers, with the same feature set and guaranteed performance functionality. This ability to support customers whether they consume storage as a service, an appliance, a converged infrastructure, or as software, has set the bar for what it means to be a Next Generation Storage Company.

To help customers understand which infrastructure option is right for them, we launched SolidFire’s Infrastructure Consumption Continuum, a tool that helps IT executives quickly make sense of the options in what is fast becoming a confounding and confusing storage marketplace.

Tweet by @StorageZar: Will others take the software-only plunge like @solidfire Element X? I doubt it, but it's time to free software innovation from boxes.

Launch of our FlashForward Program also raised the bar by delivering the industry’s smartest guarantees around storage investment protection. Now customers can be assured that their flash investments scale and remain current as new flash geometries, performance, and price points enter the market. For customers, FlashForward simply puts an end to forklift upgrades and the arbitrary three-year refresh / upgrade cycle.

“This is a radical change in the storage industry where planned obsolescence and very limited lifespan guarantees are the norm.”
Ben Kepes, Forbes

Dave Wright, CEO and founder of SolidFire, makes several new product and direction announcements at SolidFire’s second annual Analyst Day in Boulder, Colorado.

 

 

In support of our Platform Compatibility Guarantee, we also launched a new node within the SF Series product line — the SF9605. The SF9605 delivers our lowest $/GB cost to date and packs a mighty 34.5TB effective capacity and 50,000 predictable IOPS in our 1U form factor. The new platform leverages the most current and cost-effective flash technology and can easily be added to existing SolidFire clusters or used where scale-out capacity is a primary requirement.

Next generation enterprise and
service provider customers

Showcasing and providing unlimited access to key customers, Fueled by SolidFire has become one of the hallmarks of Analyst Day. No chaperones, no handlers, they sit with everyone else. Customers Ultimate Software, HostedNetwork, Colt Technology Services, Endicia, and Automated Healthcare Systems (AHCS) came from as far away as Australia to share their use cases and the results that are enabling them to solve challenges within their business and create incredible new business opportunities.

“What was common across all of these customers was that the deployment of SolidFire was key in transforming their business models to better adapt to customer requirements.  Business model transformation is really the point of deploying 3rd platform computing technologies like flash, not speeds and feeds, and these customer stories made that point abundantly clear.”
– Eric Burgner IDC

What does a Next Generation Storage Company look like — from a technology, customer, and go-to-market perspective? As many discovered, it doesn’t look anything like the companies you’re used to.

FlashForward — to the end of forklift upgrades

Analyst Day was a great venue for us to announce our FlashForward Program, comprising two of the storage industry’s smartest guarantees.

The Platform Compatibility Guarantee protects customers’ investment in SolidFire systems by guaranteeing both software and hardware compatibility for all systems under a support contract. This allows customers to obtain new software functionality free of charge for the life of the system, rather than requiring controller upgrades for major software updates as is common in today’s industry. Furthermore, hardware compatibility ensures that customers can mix new SolidFire nodes with their existing system, allowing them to expand with the latest flash technology as their system grows, rather than being locked in to a single generation of flash. The Platform Compatibility Guarantee eliminates the hardware replacement, storage migration, and forklift upgrades common with traditional enterprise storage systems.

Additionally, SolidFire’s Unlimited Drive Wear Guarantee further protects customers by eliminating concerns around flash endurance. Drives within every SolidFire platform are guaranteed against wear without use-case or workload restriction for any system under an active support contract. With the FlashForward Program, customers can be confident that the SolidFire storage platform will continuously support their business as IT infrastructure needs evolve.

Tying it all together with the Next Generation Channel

Completing our go-to-market model is our Next Generation Channel of service providers, resellers, and platform partners that drive the adoption of the SolidFire all-flash platform across a broad spectrum of customers. Service providers fueled by the SolidFire platform are delivering new storage services with guaranteed performance to over 86,000 businesses around the world. Our Cloud Builder resellers like Redapt who joined us at this year’s event are helping enterprise customers deploy converged Agile Infrastructure solutions to speed on-demand cloud deployments and SF Series Appliances that help transition customers to their Next Generation Data Center. And through our new Element X Program, SolidFire platform partners are exposing hyperscale customers to the benefits integrating SolidFire’s operating system with their hardware supply chain.

Many thanks to all of our friends, analysts, customers, and partners who made the trip.

A great start to a big year.

Tweet from @eekygeeky: Solidfire's appeal remains the "holy crap you can do what" factor. It was bananas when I previewed it 3 yrs ago and still is #FueledbySF

Jay Prassl