Formula 1 is arguably the most technically advanced sport in the world. Billions are spent each year by the teams to develop the cars during the season in order to give drivers the best chance in each race. However, the top teams also invest in next season’s car at the same time – usually new from the ground up — to take advantage of the latest technical advances and rule changes.

 

They know a particular car’s “architecture” has a finite lifetime. If they tried bolting new features onto an old car platform, they would no doubt be able to race, but also know they would have virtually no chance of winning. I guess you could say F1 operates a clear bi-modal approach, sustaining this year’s car and simultaneously investing for the future.

 

In the world of IT, things move more slowly. Thankfully, you don’t need to build a new data center infrastructure every year. However, history has shown that architectures in our world also have a finite lifespan. New hardware, application requirements, and now digital business opportunities mean new architectures become both needed as well as economically and technically possible. It can be extremely advantageous to your business to take advantage of IT market transitions before your competitors do.

Shifting gears to a new architecture

Knowing when to make an “architecture” change is the relatively easy part in Formula 1. The season is fixed, rules agreed upon well in advance. In IT, it’s much harder to know when to make a move.

 

At Gartner’s IT Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit in Berlin a few weeks ago, Gartner decreed that organizations that don’t invest in a “mode 2” architecture in the next 24 months will be left catching up for the next five to seven years. Why? Most organizations have not really changed their IT architecture in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, digital business and cloud automation have changed everything.

 

In our world of storage, solid-state Flash media is also a major catalyst for change. For example, as my colleague Stuart Oliver has said, not making a change in your storage architecture soon (at least for “mode 2” projects or services) may be costing you more than you think.

The critical foundation for future IT success

At SolidFire, we firmly believe a next generation data center needs a next generation all-flash storage architecture. It is not an overstatement to deem this a critical foundation for your future IT success. And you can’t simply bolt on features to, or try to speed up an older, traditional dual-node architecture.

 

Given the multitude of both traditional and new storage vendors out there, we have written a few architectural comparisons with some of our more traditional competitors to help you as you decide on the right architecture for your next project:

EMC XtremIO
Pure FlashArray

 

You might also want to check out Gartner’s new 2015 Magic Quadrant and 2015 Critical Capabilities reports for solid-state arrays. Click here to get a complimentary copy.

 

A next generation architecture is not the right choice for all your projects today by any means. But if you’re thinking about automated cloud infrastructure or services (and you should be), SolidFire may be the right architectural choice for you.

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John Rollason

John Rollason is Senior Director, Product & Solutions Marketing, Next Generation Data Center at NetApp. In this role, John is responsible for NetApp’s Next Generation Data Center marketing strategy. He works closely, not only with customers, partners, analysts and media, but also with leadership, sales, technical and product teams worldwide.

Prior to this role John was Marketing Director for SolidFire, acquired by NetApp in 2016, and responsible for global marketing strategy and delivery for the NetApp SolidFire Business Unit. John joined SolidFire in 2014.

Before joining SolidFire, John spent over nine years at NetApp, mainly in the role of Director, Product, Solutions & Alliances Marketing EMEA. Prior to NetApp, John worked for eight years at Nortel in a variety of positions in System Engineering, Business Development and Product Marketing.

John has spoken regularly at industry events for many years and attended The University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne gaining an M. Eng (Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. He is a Member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology.