Earlier this year, we shared findings from a large-scale survey of North American video professionals about their use of flash-based storage. The highlights? Many organizations have already implemented flash-based solid-state drives (SSDs) into their storage environment as a way to boost performance for key video workflows—and additional organizations are planning to move to flash soon.
But how do North American trends compare with those from other parts of the world? Is everyone across the globe really moving toward flash? What concerns do organizations have?
Quantum conducted additional surveys of video professionals in Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe/the Middle East/Africa (EMEA) to investigate whether there are any regional differences in flash adoption. Respondents represented a wide range of organizations, including post-production houses, broadcast organizations, creative agencies, studios and content delivery firms, as well as technology businesses, telecommunications companies, houses of worship, and sports teams.
Here are four key comparative insights from the surveys:
- Global flash adoption has already passed 50% among survey respondents.
The move to flash is not just a North American trend. More than half of respondents from all three surveys (51%) currently use flash storage in some way within their storage environment. An additional 23% plan to implement flash for the first time soon. The remaining 26% don’t use flash and don’t plan to.
Still, North Americans are in the lead with existing implementations—53% already have flash. Meanwhile, 45% of APAC and 39% of EMEA respondents are using flash.
- Performance is the #1 driver of flash adoption by a wide margin.
Of the EMEA respondents, 82% see performance as the primary benefit flash can deliver. By comparison, 67% of North American respondents identify performance as the top benefit. In APAC, most respondents still ranked performance highest (56%), but a fair proportion (24%) also saw reliability as a strong benefit of using flash-based drives.
- Concerns over cost are still prevalent.
Though a large portion of respondents envision the robust performance that flash can deliver, many also foresee challenges affording flash-based systems. Cost was reported as a top concern among respondents in APAC (68%), North America (60%), and EMEA (58%).
Cost challenges are compounded by the need to scale storage capacity. As more organizations adopt 4K and higher-resolution formats, they will need greater capacity to work with and store all those large files. Yet because many flash systems offer less capacity than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs), organizations could be forced to buy even more flash systems (at greater cost) to meet capacity requirements.
Another alternative: integrate flash into a multi-tier environment. With an integrated multi-tier environment, organizations can reserve costly flash drives for only those tasks that really need them, while scaling capacity using a mix of HDDs, tape, and cloud-based storage.
- Top storage challenges differ between regions.
Most trends were consistent across regions. Still, respondents did show some regional differences in their ranking of top overall storage challenges. For example, EMEA respondents chose performance, cost, and capacity—in that order—as their primary challenges. But APAC respondents chose performance and capacity in equal numbers. Among North Americans, capacity and cost tied for the top challenge.
The survey data on the size of organizations, video format preferences, the number of projects typically completed every year, workflow challenges, and the size of existing storage environments sheds light onto regional differences. In particular, the APAC video professionals surveyed completed a relatively small number of projects per year—primarily in HD—but need to manage a large amount of capacity. So it’s not surprising that a larger percentage of APAC respondents chose archiving as a storage challenge than respondents from other regions.
Comparing the results from regional Quantum flash surveys can provide additional insights into video and storage trends across the globe. For a more in-depth look at those comparative results, download the ebook, The State of Flash Adoption in Media & Entertainment. Quantum storage architects understand where workflows can take maximum advantage of flash—whether that’s augmenting traditional spinning media or adding all-flash. Contact Quantum for ideas, examples and references for your first flash project, or expanding your flash footprint.
Flash is a Game-changer for Some Workflows, Not for Others
Testing with real-world workloads should help inform your decision-making process. As part of a project to create storage reference architectures for 4K video, Quantum conducted extensive testing that compared flash-based SSDs, large-form-factor HDDs and small-form-factor HDDs.
The results might surprise you. Though flash storage is the right choice when you need to support extremely high stream counts (more than 28 simultaneous streams), small-form-factor HDDs can often provide sufficient performance for high stream counts. If you’re using uncompressed video, flash drives won’t substantially improve the number of stream counts compared with HDDs.