Intelligent Machines

The Remarkable ROI of All-Flash Arrays

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This sponsored story was produced in association with Pure Storage, not by MIT Technology Review editorial staff.

What kind of return on investment (ROI) can companies expect from switching from traditional disk storage to all-flash arrays (AFAs)? Let the numbers answer that question.

In mid-2014, Pure Storage, an all-flash enterprise storage company based in Mountain View, California, asked Forrester Research to conduct a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study calculating the potential ROI an enterprise might expect from replacing traditional disk storage with AFAs. Forrester consultants conducted in-depth interviews with IT directors at four large customer companies, all currently using Pure Storage’s FA-400 Series solution. Then they created a single composite organization, described as a global midmarket product manufacturer and distributor that had used two FA-400 arrays for a year, to illustrate Pure Storage’s TEI.

Forrester’s resulting analysis, projected over three years, found that the model organization could expect dramatic results from its AFAs. “The ROI was a very favorable 102%, with a payback period of just 14 months,” the TEI report noted. They also quantified risk-adjusted benefits of $1.9 million, including:

  • More than $1.2 million in business benefits. Specifically, Forrester calculated that AFAs let the composite organization develop new products, on average, two-and-a-half-months faster than it did before, allowing the company’s development team to complete work on two more products each year.
  • More than $238,000 in cost-avoidance savings on data center rack-space costs.
  • More than $171,000 in savings due to simplifying deployment/management tasks and eliminating the need for training and professional services.
  • More than $106,000 in cost-avoidance savings for software licenses and maintenance.
  • Nearly $86,000 in power and cooling savings.
  • Nearly $23,000 in savings due to simplifying storage “health checks” and eliminating a labor-intensive quarterly checkup process.

What about cost? Forrester estimated implementation and operating costs at $946,792, which, when subtracted from the overall benefits, left its model company with an impressive net benefit of more than $961,000.