Kathy Gibson is at Fujitsu Day in Johannesburg – Data is the reason why IT exists and needs to take pride of place at the centre of the IT universe.

“It is the new capital, the new currency for business,” says Michael Marticke, evangelist: data centre at Fujitsu

“So storage can’t be seen as a big capex event in the IT budge, but the most important element of all,” he adds.

Storage technology has been basically unchanged for the last 61 years, he adds. “But the hard disk drive (HDD) is now dead.”

People still believe hard drives are more reliable, can write forever and are proven technologies.

For this reason, flash technology hasn’t been driven by the IT industry – it was initially adopted by digital cameras, MP3 players and mobile phones. “Those were the business drivers for flash. Then, 20 years ago, the IT industry decided to take a look at it.”

Today we are looking forward to the availability of 200Tb cluster solid state disk (SDD) drives, Marticke points out.

There are some fundamental differences between HDDs and flash.

“The biggest difference is that you cannot write to flash forever,” he points out “But they are so good they can expect a seven-year lifecycle in the data centre before they get to those limits.

“And you can get it out of your mind that SDD is unreliable.” Flash has fewer moving parts and so it is less probe to failure.

They also feature great endurance, and can sustain a five- to seven-year lifecycle in the data centre, Marticke adds.

At the same time, SSDs have a great record when it comes to failure rates. “It is zero,” Marticke says. “They don’t fail – and if they do, they are dead on arrival.”

There is also a misconception that flash is more expensive than HDD. But the reality is that it is actually less expensive. “And that’s just the purchase price,” Marticke says. “If you add in total cost of ownership (TCO) and opex, the saving is even more.

“Do yourself a favour go away from spinning disk.”

Fujitsu is replacing most of its HDD arrays with flash.

On the technology front. The NVMe protocol is currently top of mind.

Marticke explains that it connects non-volatile memory on the PCIs bus to the CPU, with massive improvements in capacity and speed over SCSI.

NVMe has traditionally been used in servers, but is now being deployed in the storage backed too. In the near future it will be used over fabrics as well.

Fujitsu’s Eternus storage range has been offered for 50 years. “I am extremely proud of that,” says Marticke. “And customers can still rely on the technology.”

The Eternus DX family offers extensive scalability with a model, allowing users to scale simply by upgrading to a bigger model within the range.

All Eternus models use the same software and management, and customers can do data in place upgrades. “This is investment protection – not on a slide, but in reality in a data centre.

“We are reliable and consistent in what we deliver,” Marticke says. “Sometimes it can be boring – but with storage, boring is good.”

Eternus also scores well on benchmarks, with the best cost per IOPS results.