Breaking analysis: With upgrade, INFINIDAT challenges conventional wisdom in flash

When I first heard about INFINIDAT I put it in the category of FM — “Effing Magic.”

At the time, Wikibon analyst David Floyer was shaping the industry’s first prediction of the so-called All-Flash Datacenter. Flash prices were falling faster than those of spinning disk (we think they still are, by the way), and the writing was on the wall for the traditional disk array. As anyone close to the business knows, INFINIDAT is led by tech visionary Moshe Yanai, who along with Dick Egan changed the storage business permanently in the late 1980s by bucking the generally accepted way of doing things.

Moshe and his team are at it again.

In classic Moshe fashion, he convinced a group of rock star engineers in his network to join him. Most of these individuals probably don’t have to work but do so because they like to solve gnarly problems. INFINIDAT uses intelligent algorithms to squeeze the most out of storage media, including spinning disk. There are very few storage companies – if any – that see the world the same way. INFINIDAT is making some bets that if correct will give them a leg up on virtually all their competitors. The two biggest of these are: 1) that the rotating rust called hard disk drives will continue to be substantially less expensive than flash, indefinitely and 2) by using math, the company can squeeze out comparable and sometimes better performance than all-flash systems.

At Wikibon, we’ve had some spirited conversations with INFINIDAT folks, including Moshe, about these assumptions. We disagree with the first – Wikibon projections show that flash prices will continue to fall faster than those of spinning disk and will eventually crossover in all sectors. Way back in 2008, Floyer predicted that flash costs would drop below those of 15K HDD by mid this decade and he’s continuing that projection into mainstream devices.

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