There is no denying that containers are part of, if not the future of application delivery, and Kubernetes is arguably the largest player in the space. It should come as no surprise that Pure Storage addresses the future with its acquisition of Portworx to shore up Kubernetes storage and data protection.
What is Portworx?
Portworx is a leader in the Kubernetes storage and data protection spaces (per the Gigaom Radar reports here and here). A key feature of its Kubernetes storage and data protection offering is Portworx Storage Orchestrator Runtime for Kubernetes or STORK for short. STORK actively monitors Kubernetes applications for activity. Should the application clusters, servers or Pods fail, STORK will prepare the data for use on an active cluster or node for fast recovery. Portworx also provides its cloud-native storage and cloud-native data management platform for the multi-cloud world.
Why do Kubernetes and Portworx matter for Pure Storage?
Pure Storage has a long history of excelling at traditional datacenter workloads: databases, virtual machines, virtual desktops, packaged applications. While this is still a large part of the ecosystem, it does not account for cloud-native applications and the future of application delivery. Kubernetes offers a way to run applications packaged as containers for ultra-fast delivery, mobility and scale. Traditional storage delivery methodologies cannot keep up with the speed of the CI/CD (Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery) Pipeline of the DevOps world or changes in the Kubernetes environments where workloads are moved around in response to changing load. Portworx brings a Software Defined Storage platform to the Pure portfolio while delivering the ability to service the next generation of applications and delivery methods.
There are often multiple Kubernetes clusters and pods deployed by developers to provide all the necessary pieces of their applications. As this grows, it can become cumbersome to manage the underlying storage. While the applications know how much compute and memory it should have, keeping tabs on the storage is often overlooked as they move around clusters. By delivering scale and services at the speeds needed by multi-cloud applications, Portworx reduces the burden on the management of storage for Kubernetes.
Pure Storage has said it plans on keeping Portworx a standalone product that does not require Pure hardware underneath. Pure Storage does have its own container storage service, Pure Service Orchestrator, created before the acquisition. However, it is designed for use in the Pure Storage ecosystem.
Portworx customers run Kubernetes workloads on a wide range of storage, including public clouds, VMs, bare metal and enterprise arrays. The Portworx team will continue to service their existing base while using the new Pure Storage resources to help grow and develop the platform. Expect to see deeper integration into Pure Storage and its software in the future as well.
Pure Storage has a history of showing its ability to grow and adapt to the ever-changing datacenter ecosystem. The inclusion of Portworx is another step in the right direction.
We live in a time where some IT organizations are moving entirely to the public cloud, while others are moving back on-premises due to failed or overly complex cloud deployments. Some application owners are discovering they cannot move their app to a public cloud for one reason or another. Even the most cloud forward IT shops are leaving some infrastructure on-premises to handle latency or connectivity concerns.
With this acquisition, Pure Storage shows the initiative to address many of these scenarios without robbing Portworx of the ability to service other storage platforms. Outside of the apparent need to grow with the future of application delivery, I would say that this strategy will be a successful and profitable move for Pure Storage for years to come.