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Connecting the Dots with Pure Storage

At Cisco Live Europe 2020, Gestalt IT’s Joep Piscaer was joined by Patrick Smith, Field CTO for Pure Storage. They discussed how Europe and the EMEA region are driving Pure Storage’s product and company direction, and how that affects products like FlashStack.

Pure Storage in EMEA

The first big question to answer was Pure’s unique approach to Europe. Pure recently opened their first R&D center outside of the United States, and Joep asked why this is so important to Pure.

The answer? Connecting the dots between engineering, the product and how customers are leveraging those products differently than other regions. While many requirements are the same, Europe’s denser physical layout and high datacenter density across the continent shape the requirements of these customers. For Pure Storage, this meant developing features for significantly different use cases, such as synchronous replication. The European market shapes and influences the product direction of the company.

And while many flash storage vendors have trouble keeping the performance of synchronous replication on-par with the performance flash storage can handle, Pure’s engineering acumen, as well as close connection to the customers, is a big differentiator.

Because Pure’s flash-first architecture has taught them that flash storage isn’t just about raw performance, it’s also about consistent performance and datacenter efficiency. The architecture makes it easy to deliver its Active Cluster technology without sacrificing performance.

Reducing Latency for High-Performance Applications

This is equally true with applications. Big enterprise apps, like SAP and other database workloads, are the largest area of adoption for Pure’s storage arrays. Patrick talked about how the performance of flash helps reduce the licensing cost by decreasing the amount of data kept in-memory. This has traditionally a very expensive approach, both from a hardware and as well as an application licensing perspective.

Patrick mentioned how the blurring line between flash and memory helps reduce latency even further. DirectMemory is storage-class memory, used as a read cache in FlashArray, and even helps even the fastest NVMe arrays reduce latency.

Flexibility vs. Time-to-Value

Whereas designs for these applications to optimize performance were once highly bespoke projects, with FlashStack, optimizing applications for consistent performance no longer requires customized designs. Instead, FlashStack, a converged infrastructure based on Cisco compute and networking and Pure Storage arrays, commoditizes high-performance computing for the most demanding workloads without customers having to build the infrastructure stack themselves.

Enterprises are increasingly driving efficiency in terms of infrastructure consumption by use of standard services and standard designs to make standard service offerings available to their internal customers. With solutions like FlashStack these IT teams can remove a large part of the challenge in building and operating those internal IT services, solving a big headache for the enterprise. This lets IT spend the time on corner-cases and the really hard problems, providing more and quicker value to the internal customers.

Cisco Validated Designs extend FlashStack for a vast range of applications: SAP, VDI, Oracle, as well as AI/ML workloads. Customers can increase their time-to-value for deploying infrastructure, without any of the resource overhead of designing and implementing custom solutions. On top of this, the single-vendor support model prevents traditional finger-pointing between vendors. Instead, the validated designs and the joint FlashStack solution lets customers solve their business problems instead of spending time on commodity infrastructure challenges.

Future

The FlashStack solution has, and will have, a strong focus on automation and simplified operations. A great example is Pure’s recent integration into Cisco Intersight, an IT operations platform that spans across on-premises infrastructure, cloud and containers. This makes it even easier to operate and manage Pure Storage, reducing time spent on managing infrastructure.

Learn more about FlashStack and the cooperation between Cisco and Pure Storage at flashstack.com.

About the author

Joep Piscaer

Joep Piscaer is an IT architect with a focus on VMware virtualization, enterprise shared storage and backup products at OGD ict-diensten. As such, he designs and implements complex virtualization and storage and backup solutions based on VMware, EqualLogic, StoreVirtual 4000 and VSA, Nimble Storage, Nutanix and Veeam products. He specializes in tight integration of these building blocks, making day-to-day operations as easy as possible through a consolidated management interface and procedures.

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