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Customers are starting to expect more from the services they use online. Today's influencers are 'millennials' - they are young, internet savvy and expect a fast response.

Not only do they want speed, users expect services to work every time. When buying online, they want an experience that is consistent, predictable, and repeatable and if this isn't available, they will take their custom elsewhere.

It's the same in the financial industry, where microseconds are important when trading shares. Being able to get a trade in quickly while remaining connected is integral to businesses in the sector.

It rings true across the board: in a world of online and cloud, it's getting more difficult for companies to stand out. It's important to be able to differentiate amid this tough business climate - and services that are fast and consistent will attract repeat customers.

But in order to achieve this level of service, companies must manage and protect their data, supported by storage technology that works. After all, data is now at the heart of every enterprise and by its very nature, it defines a business.

It is often seen as a point solution, but Flash is a performance service: it is consistent, predictable, and repeatable. The ideal tool to get ahead in a competitive business environment, Flash increases revenue by enabling faster time to market for new products, as well as quicker responses for customers.

A Flash-based environment implemented by a storage expert such as NetApp can meet even the most complex of storage demands. NetApp offers years of expertise and a huge array of storage solutions to suit all needs.

Storage as a solution

It's important to realise that one size does not fit all when it comes to storage technology. There are different workloads: for example, some are 'spiky' and become busy at certain times of day.

NetApp's EF-Series all-flash arrays offer the 'extreme' performance that is required for an Oracle database, for example. Like a BMW Motorcycle - it's extremely fast, quick and exhilarating - just what's needed for certain workloads.

The EF-Series arrays improve user experience for customer facing and decision support systems and consolidate physical servers and database licence costs. They are also incredibly efficient: the EF Series can reduce power, footprint and cooling by up to 95% versus disk-based arrays.

On the other hand, some firms do not need this 'extreme' performance, instead requiring the rich data management provided by NetApp's All-Flash FAS.

All-Flash FAS can be compared to the BMW 7 Saloon Car Series. It has legacy and heritage - as well as being luxurious - but it is functional, comfortable and keeps the rain out. At the same time, it can provide high performance when needed.

Additionally, NetApp's All-Flash FAS can help firms stay ahead of their rivals by offering superior total cost of ownership (TCO) withbest-in-class data management for storage efficiency, as well as tight integration with popular virtualisation applications - and built-in data protection.

Customer success

Many companies are already improving their competitive abilities using NetApp's Flash storage solutions. One such firm is the Deutscher Wetterdienst (DWD)  the national weather service for the Federal Republic of Germany. The company is using NetApp's All-Flash FAS solution for real time visualisation of weather activity in the DWD warning management system.

DWD needed the fastest possible access to a range of data from different sources for the ad-hoc presentation of very sophisticated weather scenarios. It required a consistently rapid response time, especially in poor weather conditions such as volcanic ash, black ice, or hurricane-force winds.

The fast, yet flexible solution provides current measurement data that is evaluated by DWD meteorologists and delivered as a composite picture when weather advice is issued in real time. The solution has delivered optimum response time with high I/O rates; each transfer has a latency of less than a millisecond.

Another NetApp customer, UCB has accelerated clinical data analysis with NetApp EF540 Flash Array. The biopharmaceutical company needed a fast storage environment for clinical data analysis. Implemented jointly by storage experts at NetApp and the IT team at UCB, the reliable Flash array has enabled 20 times better speeds, allowing the firm to execute its clinical studies more quickly - saving time and money.

An additional satisfied customer is Universal-Investment, which  wanted to significantly increase I/O performance to support a business critical Oracle database. The firm opted for a EF540 Flash Array, leveraging existing NetApp infrastructure. The benefits were multiple: the company saw an I/O performance of 600,000 IOPS per data centre with latency of less than 1 millisecond. The company also increased performance by 100%, delivering a reliable, high availability solution for core applications and data.

As these examples show, it's time to demand more from storage - and those firms that do will forge ahead of their rivals. Storage that's consistent  predictable, and repeatable is the key to navigating this challenging brave new world.

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