Can we write off disk if tape isn’t even dead?

The flash storage industry has been writing off disk for years, but they might be getting ahead of themselves. According to DataGravity Co-founder and CEO Paula Long (who previously co-founded EqualLogic) during a Thursday afternoon Structure panel, tape isn’t even dead yet and disk is far from the grave.

Essentially, Long explained, flash is good for certain things but “it’s not the panacea for all workloads.” If you’re doing virtual desktops or server virtualization, great. If you’re doing big data or some sort of sequential workloads, though, disk will probably work just fine.

“The same number of people who need a million (IOPS) are the same people who need 0 to 60 in 4 seconds on their car,” she said.¬†Even so, she noted, there are ways to configure a hybrid hard disk plus flash array that could compete with pure flash in terms of performance.

Actually, Long noted, “I don’t (tape is) dead.” Although, she acknowledged, “But I don’t know if I did a startup that’s where I’d be going.”

Long’s co-panelist, Pure Storage CEO Scott Dietzen, take a different view. His company sells all-flash storage arrays that he says can outdo high-performance disk on every metric — cost, performance, effiency, you name it — and that customers get hooked once they use flash. People like hybrid arrays because they’re like booking a tugboat ride and getting a speedboat, he analogized, but once they experience the speedboat they don’t want to go back.

“That’s when the market tips,” Dietzen said.

CHeck out the rest of our Structure 2013 live coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

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A transcription of the video follows on the next page