David Nicholson is the Chief Strategist with EMC's Emerging Technologies Division.
This story isn’t about someone like you, it’s about you. Your unique habits, preferences and expectations.
It’s about how you like to start your holiday shopping early and how you are the master of multi-tasking, regularly completing your banking on your smartphone while you’re in transit on your daily commute. It’s the expectation that you have instant access to the right information to help you manage everything important to you – from the big stuff like managing your finances and your health to the more personal stuff like updating your social media status to stay connected with your friends.
You are now a “Market of One” (breaking free from the “Market of Many”). Technology has given you free agent status to the brands that want your business and more importantly, your loyalty.
Why does this matter? Because a remarkable, nearly-invisible technology rests at the intersection of billions of people around the world and their every waking moment…flash technology.
The technology behind the change
Flash enables a unique window to our own personalized world, and for some is woven throughout life as a constant companion as they run, sleep, wake up, talk, eat, sit and walk. It makes today’s on-the-run lifestyle possible.
We now expect brands to know us and earn our loyalty by delivering all of our information and preferences to our mobile devices as a Market of One versus the traditional Market of Many. With billions of people, devices and brands competing for customer loyalty and attention, flash is a core technology that was born in the consumer world, has grown up quickly—gotten more affordable—and now is a strategic element of most next generation data centers.
Powering the Market of One experience
Flash storage technology remains one of the biggest technology disruptors in the history of computing—both consumer grade and enterprise grade flash. Whether a powerful small chip to turbocharge the performance in a phone or an enterprise drive that is turbocharging a database application—flash is central to delivering orders of magnitude better performance to the databases, virtual environments and analytics powering this Market of One experience to users.
For instance, before, two diners standing on the same street corner using Google to search for a nearby restaurant would get the same list of results. Contrast that with today and the consumer’s elevated expectation—the vegetarian expects the results to factor in their food preferences and the diner who doesn’t own a car expects to only get options back that are within walking distance. This personalization paired with today’s expected levels of “give it to me now” performance that are based on daily interactions with our devices simply would not be met without flash technology.
It’s not often talked about… it’s buried deep within the IT infrastructure—sometimes within a storage array and sometimes within the server—but its impact on performance is immense.
How the Market of One is transforming IT
In the past, a query from a mobile device for something a user desires would be fulfilled in what’s known as a “Web 1.0” fashion. The device retrieves static data and serves it up as quickly as possible—averaging 10’s of data queries. The IT infrastructure could handle this retrieving and serving at the speed of traditional spinning disk drives because it was built to serve a Market of Many.
Contrast that with today’s Market of One world, whereby mobile users expect their personal flash experience to be just that, their own PERSONAL flash experience, and not a dumbed-down experience serving static information. The ability to master this is setting companies apart from others, building brand loyalty, and truly changing how consumers select the brands they want and use in their lives.
For brands to deliver the Market of One experience it means tremendous change is underway with their back-end technology and how their IT departments operate. It takes hundreds of queries to construct what is presented to a user as a Market of One —that is a 10X increase in the back-end activity required to deliver that end user experience. It’s a massive change, on an enormous scale. There are billions of people expecting a Market of One experience.
It takes two: the global analytics engine
This is not a one-way street where users simply request and receive information to their device. Mobile also means “mobile as sensors”—in an era of Big Data. Machine data generated by an increasing number of devices is also fed back into the "global analytics engine" for organizations to slice and dice as ingredients to improve the customer experience.
What does this mean for organizations? It means their IT workloads will require varying levels of scale, performance, capacity. These enterprises will have an insatiable appetite for flash. Many of these performance-hungry workloads will continue to evolve to not just use, but rely upon enterprise flash.
Flash, which launched the world’s ability to forever change how consumers learn, shop, navigate, is also forever changing and transforming how organizations are building their data centers to deliver the personalization and convenience of a Market of One – to you, for you and by you.
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