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Pure Storage – You’ve Come A Long Way

Pure Storage is about to kick off Pure//Accelerate, its third annual conference, in San Francisco next week. It promises to be a fun few days full of entertainment and insights from a company that’s been relentlessly focused on delivering storage solutions that work for customers, rather than customers working for their storage solutions.

It’s Evolution

2011’s FlashArray

Pure Storage started in 2009 and released its first FlashArray in late 2011. At the time, the company was focused on delivering a storage array built on All-Flash technology, using lower-cost MLC SSDs, when a number of competing offerings were still hedging their bets with hybrid offerings and struggling to deliver solutions that fully leveraged Flash. Pure has also had an eye on the future, with the delivery of the //X series array in 2017 using NVMe technology.

The Platform

The platform that Pure uses to deliver both its block and object solutions is called Purity. This has been a key part of Pure’s success, with Purity designed to leverage Flash storage from the very beginning. It’s a robust operating environment, and Pure is constantly adding new features, without having to acknowledge some of the legacy considerations that have plagued competitive solutions.

It’s Object, But Not Like You Know It

FlashBlade

Pure announced FlashBlade in 2016. At the time some pundits were confused by the product. Was it a blade compute solution? A Flash object storage solution? Both? Neither? It’s really a scale-out All-Flash object solution that can do a lot of great stuff depending on the workload. If you’re doing a lot of analytics or working in oil and gas and need high performance file and object storage, this is for you. If you’re looking to replace your corporate file servers, not so much. What FlashBlade has demonstrated though, is a willingness on the part of Pure to deliver solutions that help their key customers do business in the way they need to.

Market Differentiators

So why am I so excited about a company that does really boring stuff like storage? I’m excited because it’s doing boring stuff in an interesting way, and working really hard to take away a lot of the pain traditionally associated with owning and operating enterrpsie storage.

Green, Evergreen

The Evergreen Storage program is an excellent example of Pure being cognisant of the market’s need to evolve the way storage was being delivered and managed in the data center. The frequent requirement for “forklift” upgrades, even when the new array was the successor of the in-place array, was a real pain to deal with for many enterprises. Pure delivered a program that works through this issue, commercially and technically, and enables customers to run modern hardware without the need for lengthy data migration activities.

Simple Software

It’s not just the hardware that stays current though. Early on Pure made a decision to ensure that the software sold with the FlashArray followed an all-inclusive model, with free upgrades under maintenance and new features added for no additional cost. An example of this in action was the announcement of Purity 5.0 and ActiveCluster, providing existing and new customers alike with access to synchronous replication via a software upgrade. No need to buy additional licenses, and no messing about with complicated upgrade options or software upsell activities.

I Use My Phone To Look At My Storage Array

Pure1

Don’t you? Pure1 is Pure’s cloud-based management and analytics platform that allows for insights into what’s happening with the environment, as well as providing information to support staff about when things are going to go pop. You can also use it for capacity planning. Pure are all about solving problems before they become problems, and Pure1 is a big part of this.

Won’t You Be My Friend?

Pure has understood early on that you can get a lot done in this world by being friendly and easy to work with. To that end they’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that their partners are fully enabled to deliver Pure Storage solutions in an effective manner. But it’s not just value-added resellers that get good treatment. Pure has also gone to great lengths to team up with a lot of different vendors that offer complimentary solutions. Pure is a storage company (it’s right there in the name), but they understand that companies need more than that to keep their applications running in the data center. To that end, you’ll see Pure integrations with companies that do data protection, converged compute stacks, and a variety of other hardware offerings. Pure has also worked hard with the major software vendors to ensure that key applications used in the enterprise are supported on the platform.

Conclusion

One of the key indicators that a company has come of age is that it holds its own conference. The usefulness of some of these conferences is sometimes questionable, but they do provide an excellent opportunity to talk with customers using the product, as well as the engineers in the back-office building said products.

Pure Storage has come a long way in nine years and it’s been refreshing to see the company maintain its stated direction of delivering compelling storage solutions in a way that take advantage of the latest technology while providing the end user with simple to use operational and lifecycle management tools. I’m looking to seeing what’s next from this company.

About the author

Dan Frith

Dan has spent 15 years in IT working for mid-size government and VARs in a big country town called Brisbane. He's fascinated with things that go in racks and making life easier through smart process and cool technology applications.

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