Pure Storage Flash Protects Enterprise Investments
Pure Storage today released a trio of announcements, including a cloud-based global management and support offering; new flash array hardware, and a strategy designed to extend enterprises' storage lifespan to at least 10 years.
The 1,000-employee company's focus is to decrease the cost of storage, in part by allowing organizations to "get off the three to five year merry-go-round where enterprises constantly replace their storage arrays," Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of products at Pure Storage, told Enterprise Technology.
To do this, the developer formalized its Evergreen storage policy that leverages Pure Storage's modular, software-defined architecture so IT departments can upgrade components of their arrays without having to move data, he said. Controllers, flash, and software upgrades are available and organizations can choose when to update them since the decision is non-disruptive, said Kixmoeller.
"The average customer replaces their big refrigerator-size storage array every three years. It gets very painful. I talked to a large banking customer recently who had a 30-person team, and all they do literally is storage migration," he said. "It's a huge change-control process and it usually takes months and months to move."
In addition, companies receive "full trade-in value" when they upgrade controllers, Kixmoeller said. "It's another way we're enabling people to move forward without losing your investment protection," he added.
“It is clear that flash storage in the datacenter is here to stay. IDC recommends that all data centers should have flash deployed in at least some capacity today and should be strategically considering how best to leverage it going forward,” said Eric Burgener, research director at IDC, in a statement. “With today’s announcements from Pure Storage, they are creating a unique, new model for technology refresh that offers significant value for their customers. Supported by modifications in the hardware of their new FlashArray//m, customers can now and going forward upgrade entire FlashArrays in the field to completely new technology generations without any downtime, performance impacts, forklift upgrades or data migration. This new model will change customer preconceptions about the way technology refresh is performed in enterprise-class storage arrays.”
Pure Storage hopes some existing customers will upgrade to the new FlashArray//m, which features chassis-based design that fully integrates high-availability controllers and flash in one appliance. The modular, upgradable 3U product is about the size of a microwave, according to Pure Storage, and cuts power requirements down to 1 kilowatt (approximately the needs of a toaster oven, the company said). In addition, FlashArray//m uses only four cables, not hundreds, according to Pure Storage.
"We use a chassis-based design, kind of similar to a blade chassis, where you have a single long-lived chassis and modules that can be swapped out," Kixmoeller said. "This allows the customer to deploy this chassis for seven to 10 years."
Because the array uses software-defined architecture based on Intel processors, it enjoys a 50 percent performance boost over the prior model, he said. And most, if not all, integration is done before the device arrives at a customer's door, Kixmoeller said.
"If you look at a traditional storage array, you're talking weeks and weeks before getting it on the floor, tuning it, cabling it. We've turned it literally into a 30-minute process. It arrives by UPS, not at a loading dock," he said. "The OS is included. We don't charge for that. You look at our traditional competitors; all of the storage array vendors ship things that are refrigerator size. Within flash, they don't have all the functionality. You have to put in a lot of software to make them functional."
Directed shipments begin in July, with full volume shipments starting in the third quarter, according to Pure Storage. Any customer who purchased previous products gets a free upgrade to FlashArray//m with their next capacity expansion, said Kixmoeller.
As flash pricing drops and organizations without sophisticated internal IT operations more rapidly adopt this technology, demand for ongoing support has grown, he said. Since all its arrays are cloud-connected, Pure Storage recognized this provided it with a means for delivering support, said Kixmoeller.
Pure1 is a SaaS tool that consolidates workloads into one management interface – accessible via desktops, smartphones, and tablets – that allows IT managers to detect and remediate exposure to faults, no matter where they are. The software, which has been in beta for the past quarter, is included in the array and Pure1 support is provided through the company's support contract, said Kixmoeller.
"Roughly 25 percent of the devices people use to access Pure1 are mobile devices. It shows there's a desire out there for mobile access to this. Anywhere you are you can see if there's a problem, and it creates a level of comfort that didn't exist before with storage software," he added.