Deep Dive AFA Study

s201701

1. About you and your organisation

1.1 Which part of the world are you based in?

 

1.2 Which of the following best describes your role?

1.3 How large is your organisation?

1.4 Which of the following best describes your organisation's core business?

2. About your IT & storage environment

2.1 First, let's get a handle on your use of cloudy technologies. How would you describe your use of the following types of services?

 
Heavy
Some
Planning / Considering
None / Unsure
SaaS (software as a service)
IaaS (infrastructure as a service)
PaaS (platform as a service)
Public cloud in general
Private cloud systems
Hosted services & storage (including cloud storage)

2.2 And looking at storage in particular, how would you sum up the state of your current in-house storage environment in terms of the equipment installed?

2.3 Digging down a bit, how well does your storage environment enable the following?

 
Optimally
Very well
Acceptably
Not very well
Poorly
Unsure
Application availability
Application performance
Operational efficiency
Data protection
Data security
Management of growth
Responsiveness to change
Management of costs

2.4 Looking back, when did your current organisation FIRST acquire the following storage types?

 
More than 3 years ago
1 to 3 years ago
Within the last 12 months
In process
Never
Unsure
Hybrid HDD/flash arrays
All-Flash Arrays
Converged or hyper-converged systems

2.5 And when was your current organisation's most RECENT acquisition of any of this stuff?

 
More than 3 years ago
1 to 3 years ago
Within the last 12 months
In process
Never
Unsure
Hybrid HDD/flash arrays
All-Flash Arrays
Converged or hyper-converged systems

2.6 When you make storage-related investment decisions, how much impact do the following factors generally have?

 
Significant influence
Some Influence
Little or no influence
Unsure
Solution capabilities
Previous experience with solutions
Acquisition cost
Expected lifetime
Maintenance / support costs
Amount of storage manageable by staff (TB or PB/FTE)
IT team skills and/or preferences
Data migration capabilities to and from the platform
Openness of solution
Ability to deliver QoS consistency
Published performance metrics
Other (please specify)

2.7 Thinking about the vendor in more detail, how important are the following considerations when looking at new storage solutions?

 
Very important
Somewhat important
Little or no importance
Not relevant
Vendor brand
Vendor size
Vendor’s local presence
Previous experience with vendor

3. OK, let's talk about All-Flash Arrays (AFAs) in particular...

3.1 How has your experience with All-Flash Arrays been so far?

 

3.3 Getting down to the details, when selecting an AFA vendor, how important are the following?

 
Very important
5
 
4
 
3
 
2
Totally irrelevant
1
Unsure
Ability to advise on best practices
Post-sales technical support and service
Previous experience/existing relationship with vendor
Track record with other companies in your vertical
Overall brand/market reputation
Financial stability and/or strong investor backing
Wide range of purchase models (capex/opex, capacity-based, etc)
Offer of guarantees (on lifetime, performance, etc)
Other (please specify)

3.4 And how satisfied have you been with what you've seen or been offered so far?

 
Couldn't be happier
OK
Not so great
Totally useless
No experience/unsure
Ability to advise on best practices
Post-sales technical support and service
Previous experience/existing relationship with vendor
Track record with other companies in your vertical
Overall brand/market reputation
Financial stability and/or strong investor backing
Wide range of purchase models (capex/opex, capacity-based, etc)
Offer of guarantees (on lifetime, performance, etc)
Your overall vendor experience

 

3.6 Thinking about your most recent purchase of an All-Flash Array, which workloads was it acquired to support (or if you haven't already purchased an AFA what workloads would you expect it to support)?

 
Primary or immediate target
Secondary target
Became a target subsequently
Never a target
Unsure/NA
Mobile apps and services
Database driven applications
High performance OLTP applications
High performance computing (e.g. HPC applications)
Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)
Virtual server hosting
Big data and analytics / OLAP
Embedded/real-time analytics
Email, collaboration and workflow
File storage and management
Cloud environments
Rapid backup and recovery
Other (please specify)

3.7 When looking at AFAs, how important are the following in your environment?

 
Very important
5
 
4
 
3
 
2
Totally irrelevant
1
Unsure
Ability to scale up (grow the box)
Ability to scale out (cluster multiple boxes)
Support for tiers of flash with different performance characteristics
Support for disk-based secondary storage
Application-aware QoS
Selective workload data de-duplication
Selective workload data compression
Overall efficiency and performance impact of data reduction
Support for mixed workloads
System usage analytics
Remote diagnostics & predictive maintenance
Ability to integrate new component technologies

4. Turning to the bigger picture, we would like to look at the effect AFAs have had on your organisation

4.1 When your organisation first acquired an AFA, what was its intended usage pattern (or if you haven’t already acquired an AFA what would you expect the usage pattern to be)?

4.2 And how much are you using AFAs in the following ways now (or if you haven’t already purchased an AFA in which ways would you anticipate you would be using it)?

 
Extensively
Moderately
Minimally
Not at all
Unsure
As a point solution (single app/purpose)
Multi-role solution (several specific apps)
General purpose platform (everything)

4.3 Getting to the nitty-gritty, how much would you agree or disagree that AFAs are a good fit for the following workloads?

 
Strongly agree
Agree
Maybe
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Unsure
Tier 1 Database driven applications (e.g. ERP, CRM etc.)
Tier 2/3 database driven applications (e.g. departmental)
Large scale IoT solutions
Large scale cloud based applications
Media presentation (e.g. serving up image/video content)
HPC
Real time analytics

4.4 When you plan to acquire an AFA, what role do the following individuals or groups have in the decision?

 
Driver
Influencer
Due diligence
Road-block
None
Unsure/NA
Business stakeholders
Finance/procurement
Overall head of IT
Head of IT operations
Datacentre manager
IT/datacentre architects
Database administrators
Software developers
Storage specialists
Server / Systems Managers
Security specialists
Compliance specialists
Project/program manager
Other (please specify)

5. As we draw to a close, we’d like to understand where you are right now

5.1 How fit for purpose are the following elements of your IT environment in terms of delivering services to your users?

 
Robust and future proof
OK for now, but will need strengthening
Generally falling short
No capability
Unsure
Server platforms & VM farms
Hard disk based shared storage arrays (SANs / NAS)
Single application AFA storage
Hyper-converged Infrastructure (HCI)
Scale Out Storage systems
AFA systems supporting multiple workloads
The data centre network infrastructure
IT systems management capabilities
Security capabilities
Staff skills

5.2 And how well do you think your IT team currently performs in the following areas?

 
Extremely well
5
 
4
 
3
 
2
Very poor
1
Unsure
Meeting service level needs and expectations
Responsiveness to new business requirements
Managing IT-related security and risk
Managing IT-related costs and overheads
Creating or enabling competitive advantage
Delivering overall value to the business

6. Let's close things off with your thoughts on AFAs in terms of strategy and transformation

6.1 How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements when it comes to describing the potential benefits of AFAs?

 
Strongly agree
Agree
Maybe
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Unsure
The reduced need for power, cooling and space significantly improves datacentre economics
Systems no longer need to be continually tuned and nurtured for best performance
New and changed demands can be met faster and more efficiently
Inherent simplicity and consistent QoS allows users to self-service storage management
Ease of operation provides more natural support for DevOps and continuous delivery methods
Applications are no longer IO-bound, which can deliver significant productivity benefits
Storage specialists can be freed up to focus on activities that create business value
They are a key enabler of private/hybrid cloud environments
They are a strategic enabler for transforming key aspects of IT operations
They are a strategic enabler for transforming key aspects of business operations

6.2 And in your next AFA project, how much do you agree or disagree with following?

 
Strongly agree
Agree
Maybe
Disagree
Strongly disagree
Unsure
We will be bolder
I want to convince Procurement/Finance that startups and smaller vendors are OK
We will do more data profiling for our apps
We will do more application profiling
Other (please specify)

 

Thanks for taking part!
When the results are in, look out for the report on The Reg.