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Taneja Blog / Data Center Systems / Primary Storage

Micron’s Solution Engineering Lab Reveals a New Level of Customer Commitment

I recently attended a Micron launch event where they unveiled a new solution engineering lab in Austin, Texas. As expected, Micron also announced a broad portfolio of PCIe solid state drives (SSDs) that leverage the high-performance NVMe protocol. Flash is radically affecting infrastructure design in data centers everywhere. One only has to observe the staggering market decline of spinning disk drives (-20% YoY) to understand the magnitude of the success flash is enjoying.

What I found most interesting about the Micron event was the depth of capabilities within their Austin solution lab and their rationale for opening their doors to customers. Historically, customers would relate their data center needs to the big system vendors (Dell/EMC, HP, and IBM) and, in turn, these vendors would pass those design requirements along to their OEM component vendors such as Micron, Seagate, and numerous others. This tended to shield component vendors from interacting directly with end users. I was amazed to see the large assortment of ecosystem partners that were in attendance at the Micron event. In addition to software based solution partners, such as VMware and Nexenta, many customers were also in attendance. Micron recognized the value of working directly with end users when the hyper-scale companies (Google, Facebook and Amazon) started building data centers and buying sub-component parts from them directly. One architect for a large financial company told me that he no longer has access to quality, first-hand information from the system vendors as they each promote their own agenda. He was attending the event to keep up-to-date regarding industry trends and specifically to view Micron capabilities through an unfiltered lens. He was also there hoping Micron would validate his open source storage solution on open compute hardware.

Micron is on the right track by validating a wide variety of enterprise solutions at their new Micron Storage Solutions Center (MSSC). They emphasize big data and hyper-converged solutions, and highlight the tuning of these solutions in order to optimize the features and performance of Micron’s flash portfolio. Micron also plans to publishing best practices and reference architectures directly to end-user customers. The MSSC also promises to be a useful resource for anyone in the end-to-end ecosystem who wants to tune their solutions. In return for offering this valuable resource for it’s customers, Micron receives valuable feedback and insights related to product performance under various workload use cases. I expect other component vendors will follow suit, emulating what Micron has implemented in the solution engineering space.


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