Advanced Computing in the Age of AI|Friday, November 27, 2020
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Pure Storage Acquires Portworx and its Kubernetes Services 

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Technology merger season is upon us, with Pure Storage announcing mid-week it is acquiring Kubernetes data services specialist Portworx.

In the wake of Nvidia’s blockbuster deal for Arm Ltd., Pure Storage (NYSE: PSTG) said Wednesday (Sept. 16) it will pays about $370 million in cash to acquire Portworx. The deal reflects growing enterprise demand for agile storage platforms that increasingly must handle microservices-based distributed applications and analytics workloads.

Pure Storage released an upgraded all-flash array last month as part of an all-QLC (quad-level cell) storage platform.

The Portworx acquisition is Pure Storage’s largest to date, and expands its presence in the market for multi-cloud data services based on application containers and the Kubernetes cluster orchestrator. “This acquisition marks a significant milestone in expanding our modern data experience to cover traditional and cloud native applications alike,” Charles Giancarlo, chairman and CEO of Pure Storage said in announcing the acquisition.

Charles Giancarlo

Five-year-old Portworx, Los Altos, Calif., announced record quarterly sales and revenues last month as it rides an enterprise wave of Kubernetes adoption. It specializes in persistent storage, data security and “cloud mobility” for containers deployed in hybrid cloud architectures.

The company’s Kubernetes data services platform is used by a roster of customers that includes Comcast, GE Digital, Kroger, Lufthansa and T-Mobile. “The traction and growth we see in our business daily shows that containers and Kubernetes are fundamental to the next-generation application architecture,” said Portworx CEO Murli Thirumale.

Thirumale said the company’s mission included helping enterprises apply container technology initially used for distributed applications to achieve “data agility.” Portworx has “extended the use of Kubernetes from not just being a control plane for an orchestrator for containers, but also a control plane to orchestrate data and storage.”

Pure Storage is betting that Portworx will upgrade its storage platform though its experience with what Thirumale called “consumer-like applications.” For enterprise transitioning to digital platforms, Thirumale stressed, “If you are not fast, you will be run over by somebody faster than you.”

Hence, more data services customers are using containers for speed and the cloud for scale, the Portworx chief added. Pure Storage would use those capabilities to bolster its data services and allow customer to automate storage and mine data using machine learning.

Murli Thurimale

The deal also reflects the steady shift to cloud-native applications that require features like persistent storage to accelerate access to large data sets.

The Portworx acquisition “makes containers even more core to what we are doing with our next-generation architecture,” Giancarlo added, including a Kubernetes-based control plane, software-defined storage and a hybrid cloud capability. The combination would give Pure Storage customers faster data access via a set of shared services, APIs and on-demand consumption, Giancarlo noted.

Pure Storage said Thirumale and will serve as vice president and general manager of its Cloud Native Business Unit. The Portworx management team also will join Pure Storage, which is based in Mountain View, Calif.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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