When Pure Storage promised to deliver an all-flash array to market at a price competitive with disk-based solutions, it shook the entire storage industry. It was akin to Tesla introducing a mass-market car that just happened to be electric. Now Pure is offering their first backup and recovery solution, and of course, it’s all-flash too. FlashRecover promises to do for secondary storage what FlashArray did for primary storage, but Pure didn’t build this alone. It combines Cohesity’s leading DataProtect software with Pure’s other storage platform, FlashBlade.
FlashRecover = Pure Storage + Cohesity
Today, Pure Storage and Cohesity are announcing a strategic partnership and the launch of a new integrated product, Pure Storage FlashRecover. This isn’t a combination of the two companies and not (necessarily) a prelude to greater integration. Instead, it’s a jointly-engineered product to be sold through Pure Storage’s distribution channel and supported by both companies. Note that FlashRecover is part of the Pure Storage portfolio, not a Cohesity offering.
A lot of engineering from both companies went into the FlashRecover product, however. Cohesity had to dedicate internal resources to disaggregate the underlying storage from Cohesity’s file system and data protection layer. And the company is committed to supporting Pure Storage in sales and ongoing customer support. This isn’t just “pre-installed software” or a simple tie-in sale!
Think of FlashRecover as an integrated “stack” similar to the existing FlashStack HCI offering, which leverages Cisco UCS and VMware vRealize. But since neither Pure Storage nor Cohesity had their own server hardware, FlashRecover uses a standard “white box” server to run the Cohesity software. No doubt this sweetens the deal for resellers, assuming they already stock the correct server hardware. One imagines that a future version of FlashRecover might give resellers more latitude in differentiating their offering through the server component.
Another Market for FlashBlade
Although better known for their mainstream FlashArray offering, Pure Storage has grown a remarkable second line of business with their scale-out FlashBlade offering. Introduced at Pure Accelerate 2016, FlashBlade is a scalable all-flash NAS and object store that can grow to 150 blades, with each adding capacity and performance to the entire system. FlashBlade is an incredible system that would have been an anchor product for most companies but too often plays second-fiddle to the massively-successful FlashArray when it comes to coverage of Pure Storage.
If FlashArray is a family car, FlashBlade is a pickup truck: It’s not for everyone, but if you have a job for it, it’s indispensable. It is typically brought in by customers looking for a solution to a unique business application challenge rather than as a general-purpose storage system for conventional applications. This has necessarily limited its market, though there are a huge number of use cases for a massively-scalable object store or NAS.
FlashRecover dramatically expands this potential footprint. Nearly every business needs secondary storage, from conventional backup and recovery to ransomware protection to DevOps applications. And, as long as they are big enough to afford it, FlashRecover offers a compelling solution. Cohesity already offers a wide and deep range of data protection features, and this combined product brings all of those to the Pure Storage catalog.
One of the primary pitches for FlashRecover this far is ransomware protection. Cohesity has been in this market for a long time, and the combined product offers near-instantaneous recovery from ransomware, with immutable storage of previous versions. FlashRecover also includes Cohesity’s signature DevOps integration, allowing companies to snap a copy of a production data set with automated data masking to protect privacy and prevent leaks. This makes the product compelling for customers, but also for Pure Storage, which doesn’t have to develop this capability from scratch.
Two familiar faces from Tech Field Day, Pure Storage and Cohesity, have launched a new joint data protection offering based on proven technology. This was enough to get my attention. But nuances are revealed when you look under the hood: This marks a new “stack” from Pure Storage, which has seen great success with their joint Cisco/VMware FlashStack, and is the first time Cohesity has joined such an alliance. I suspect Pure Storage resellers will love this new offering, and customers will as well!