Fusion-io's flash memory cards may at first glance seem to be bad news for the big server vendors because they are driving server consolidation among its large Web-based clients. But in fact IBM, HP and Dell [are selling those cards to their clients under OEM agreements. And the reason is that while they allow companies to do what they do now with less hardware, they simultaneously make whole classes of new applications, including big data analysis for non-Web-based companies, practical by cutting the cost.
“When you lower the cost per unit of useful computing you make it more cost effective for problems that weren't before, and now you can take business models to market that wouldn't have been viable,” Fusion-io CEO David Flynn an interview with Wikibon.org CEO David Vellante and SiliconAngle CEO John Furrier, later transcribed on Wikibon.org. So actually it extends the overall IT spend.
So while some users use the cards to reduce cost and improve efficiency, others are asking, “Now that this is possible and cost-effective what creative things can I do with it that I couldn't before?”
This is revolutionizing the mobile market at both ends simultaneously. At the edge, flash is transforming your end-point devices, increasing their capabilities at the rate of orders of magnitude while increasing battery life dramatically because of its very low power demands. And at the other end, it is driving similar orders-of-magnitude improvements in the server performance of service providers. And because flash memory is persistent, those servers can recover from a power outage or crash almost instantly, a major advantage for Web service companies and for companies with internal systems that work with very large data sets. The result is that smart phones, tablets, and other networked portable devices effectively can access nearly limitless computer power. That power boost at both ends is driving whole families of consumer applications.
But it also is beginning to foster new kinds of business applications as well. “We have some customers who are using it with Microsoft's fast unstructured text search, creating a growing area of corporate discovery,” Mr. Flynn says. “These customers went from minute-level response times to comb through every last e-mail, what-have-you, to fractions of a second in the response times. So it can really change the business and the services that they provide.”
Action Item: Today NAND Flash, server virtualization, and cloud computing technologies can deliver virtually unlimited power to networked, highly mobile end-user devices both in and outside the enterprise at very low cost. The relevant question is what can you do with this huge increase in computing power. The answers are limited only by the human imagination.