Why India Needs Flash: The Future of Data Storage

In this interview, Ramanujam Komanduri explores the growing need for all-flash storage solutions in India. Indian businesses grappling with data growth can unlock new potential with all-flash storage.

Aanchal Ghatak
New Update
All-Flash Storage

The rapid growth of data in India is pushing businesses to re-think their data storage solutions. Traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) are struggling to keep pace with the demands of modern applications like artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics. This is where all-flash storage comes in.


All-flash storage offers a revolutionary approach to data storage, utilizing flash memory to deliver significantly faster performance, improved efficiency, and enhanced security compared to HDDs. As Indian enterprises embark on their digital transformation journeys, all-flash storage is emerging as a critical tool for unlocking their full potential.

This interview with Ramanujam Komanduri dives deep into the benefits of all-flash storage for Indian businesses. We'll explore how it can address the challenges of data growth, support AI initiatives, and ultimately empower enterprises to thrive in the digital age.

What are the primary reasons enterprises should consider switching to flash storage solutions?


The advantages of flash over legacy hard disk storage are well known, but what has historically held back flash adoption has primarily been its cost. However, we're seeing that cost gap close rapidly, and I predict that hard disk drive (HDD) storage systems will become extinct by 2028.

Here are some key reasons why enterprises are making the switch to all-flash storage:

- Unstructured data is projected to increase tenfold by 2030, posing significant management challenges. All-flash storage platforms with large capacities are ideal for handling these unstructured data workloads.


- Data centres consume 1-2% of global energy, with storage accounting for 25-40% of that consumption. All-flash solutions use up to 80% less power and space, contributing to reduced e-waste and long-term cost savings.

- Traditional storage systems require frequent, disruptive upgrades and maintenance. Pure’s all-flash solutions mitigate these issues, offering 10-20 times greater reliability and eliminating the need for constant hardware refreshes.

- Despite common beliefs, all-flash storage can now compete on cost with HDD storage when considering total cost of ownership. Pure Storage has observed operational cost reductions of up to 60% and lower TCO by up to 40% over six years for customers who have made the switch.


Can you provide some specific examples of how AI is driving the need for more storage and how all-flash storage solutions address this challenge for Indian enterprises?

AI is one of the major driving forces behind the push for bigger and faster data. Whether you’re using AI to build a recommendation engine for your video streaming service or create a smarter chatbot, all AI systems are dependent on two things to succeed: quality input data and large amounts of computation.  This is especially true for training the deep neural networks responsible for much of the AI headlines that hit mainstream news. That means configuring a multi-GPU cluster as a high-throughput data analytics pipeline with a data storage solution that can keep up.

Older storage solutions based on data lakes of siloed spinning-disk servers are struggling to keep up with the demand for bigger and faster data. Modern all-flash arrays have the massively parallel architectures and low-latency data transfer speeds needed to support AI applications. At Pure Storage, we started our AI journey years ago, in 2016 with the introduction of FlashBlade, whose high-performance scale-out architecture made it a perfect system to handle the large volumes of unstructured data that AI requires. In 2017, we introduced AIRI, the world’s first AI-Ready-Infrastructure, which we co-developed with NVIDIA. In 2022, we upgraded both with the FlashBlade//S and AIRI//S.


Does Pure Storage have any data on the current adoption rate of all-flash storage solutions in India compared to traditional hard disk drives?

There's been a growing trend towards flash storage due to its efficiency, reliability, and long-term cost benefits. Enterprises in India are increasingly adopting flash storage to enhance their IT infrastructure and support modern applications, including AI, cloud computing and big data analytics. Our interactions with customers and market trends indicate a significant increase in the adoption rate of all-flash storage solutions compared to traditional hard disk drives. As all-flash storage systems continue to spread into diverse workload environments with additional demand from AI workloads, globally, the all-flash array segment is expected to grow at a five-year CAGR of 7.7% and surpass the 50% share of spending milestone worldwide in 2025, as per the latest IDC report. We are also seeing a massive explosion in data considering the rapid growth in India’s digital economy.

Are there any specific Pure Storage all-flash solutions that you would like to highlight?


Our FlashBlade//S is designed to handle exponential data growth with impressive energy efficiency. Then there's FlashArray//E platform which is perfect for very large capacity requirements and also for the secondary storage market. The E family offers very large capacities at much lower power, space, and operational costs compared to traditional SSD and hard disk systems. These are available as a subscription model and we are finding a lot of resonance considering the unpredictable and exponential growth requirements in this area. Organisations are able to subscribe to continuous operation, advanced data resilience, zero downtime, and robust ransomware protection. These solutions collectively address various storage needs while enhancing efficiency and security.

With the increasing focus on data security, can you also discuss how all-flash storage solutions address potential security challenges for enterprises?

All-flash storage solutions provide significant security advantages. Firstly, Pure Storage all-flash storage arrays offer built-in security measures like data-at-rest encryption and key management that can help secure sensitive data. Our products employ AES-256-bit encryption to safeguard data at rest, ensuring adherence to high-security standards.


Another facet of data protection that sometimes goes overlooked is prevention of data loss. Protecting against ransomware requires careful planning to outwit hackers, especially as attackers are increasingly moving toward targeted attacks. SafeMode enables you to protect the critical snapshot and backup data you need to recover from such an attack in two ways. First, SafeMode prevents your recovery data from being corrupted or encrypted through an always-on immutability capability. Second, it prevents recovery data from being entirely destroyed—even by someone with administrator privileges—through time-based eradication policies. Pure FlashArray offers an entire spectrum of business-continuity and disaster-recovery options—including snapshots, which provide fast recovery.

While highlighting the benefits of all-flash storage, can you address potential cost concerns some enterprises might have and how the long-term benefits outweigh the initial investment?

As I mentioned earlier, when evaluating Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), it’s crucial to consider not only the initial costs but also the ongoing operational expenses, including power, cooling, and maintenance. All-flash storage arrays, such as those provided by Pure Storage, have been demonstrated to significantly reduce TCO compared to equivalent capacity hard disk drive (HDD) arrays. This reduction stems from several factors, including the decreased need for physical space, as the compact size of flash storage allows data centres to condense equipment significantly. Furthermore, the power efficiency of all-flash arrays is a key factor in lowering operational costs. All-flash solutions require up to 80% less power and space than HDDs, leading to substantial savings in electricity and cooling expenses. These savings are even more pronounced in hyperscale and enterprise data centres, where reducing power consumption per rack is vital for both financial and environmental reasons. Additionally, the absence of moving parts in flash storage results in less wear and tear over time, potentially reducing replacement costs and further decreasing TCO.

In your opinion, what will the data storage ecosystem look like in the next decade?

The future of data storage lies in flexible, scalable solutions that can adapt to fluctuating demands. Pure introduced subscription-based services many years ago with Pure Evergreen. Our technology-based Evergreen subscription forever changed customers' experience with infrastructure. No more disruptive upgrades or “planned” downtime, no more refresh cycles with their forklift upgrades and data migrations.  Pure Evergreen means just that - once purchased, Pure products will always be new, always be leading edge, and will never need scheduled downtime.

The core differentiator for Pure is that as-a-service starts with monitoring Service Level Agreements (SLAs). That’s why our Evergreen portfolio delivers a true service and not just a financial model.

Can you highlight some key customers of Pure Storage in India and the impact your solutions have had on their operations?

We have a growing customer base in India, most of whom are in Banking and Financial Services (BFSI), Healthcare, IT/ITeS and Manufacturing sectors. By implementing Pure Storage solutions, these organisations have experienced significant improvements in data access speeds, storage efficiency, and overall system reliability. This has enabled them to streamline their IT operations, accelerate application performance, and support their digital transformation initiatives effectively. Additionally, our solutions have helped them reduce operational costs, minimise downtime, and enhance their ability to innovate and compete in today's rapidly evolving business landscape.