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Pure Storage pushes all-flash array purification

Three-way boost as hardware, software and service get updated

Evergreen upgradability

The Evergreen storage concept builds on the existing Forever Flash pitch (flat maintenance pricing, controller upgrade every three years included in maintenance pricing, ongoing warranty for all components, including flash media) and says customers can:

  • Independently upgrade capacity, performance, density, connectivity and software
  • Controller, flash and software upgrades available continuously
  • No downtime, data migration or performance loss
  • All SW upgrades included
  • Upgrade controllers as needed, receive trade-in credit when purchasing additional capacity

Pure says it’s never forced a disruptive upgrade or data migration on its customers and doesn’t intend to. McMullan says maintenance costs are flat or to go down over the ownership period and pushes the idea that Pure is breaking down the three-year forklift replacement cost model that’s traditional in the IT industry.

It will obviously use these maintenance costs, power and cooling costs, and the initial array acquisition costs, in its total cost-of-ownership model.

Pure’s //m arrays will start directed (limited) availability for production workloads in July, with general availability in the third quarter. For customers who have bought an FA-400 product since February, an upgrade to //m product is free with their next capacity expansion.

El Reg overview

McMullan says this is only phase one of a cadence of announcements, with phases two and three coming along later in the year. He said Pure has plans for both file and data lake storage and we'll hear about this in due course. He doesn't think Pure will add a cloud back-end for bulk data storage, or go the hybrid route and add disk drives to store such data.

The "m" flash modules can be expected to double (4TB) and then double again (8TB) in capacity in the future, with suppliers Samsung and Toshiba delivering 3D MLC (2 bit or multi-level cell) flash achieve these capacity levels for Pure's use.

McMullan thinks that, with Intel's processor development roadmap and the flash capacity upgrades coming, some customers will be able to run their entire corporate data centre footprint from one 3U box.

He offered the thought that Pure looks to implement new Intel processor support rapidly, lagging only six months behind Intel processor introductions. This controversial view suggests that EMC sits about 18 months behind Intel, NetApp some two years and HP around four years. “We will ship new controller blades every year on that basis,” he said.

El Reg believes clustering of "m" systems is coming, with a shared memory model similar to that of EMC's DSSD, and that NVMeF will be used for this, an external PCIe fabric. It should be possible for Pure to offer a global data reduction capability and thus attain data lake capacity levels.

We also think that Pure Storage's strategic plan may not necessarily be purely focused on storage. It has a controller design team including Cisco UCS blade server expertise, dual-controller linking for high availability with bridging via NVMe, its NVME NV-RAM use, future flash module NVMe connectivity and probable coming NVMeF use.

So a possible option is to add servers and networking to its arrays, and functionality to its Purity OS, to turn them into hyper-converged systems.

Nothing was said about this in our briefing, but our belief is that Pure execs understand that a networked storage array-only focus would eventually limit its growth and strategic options. To become the company we think it wants to become, Pure has to move into adjacent markets – and we think the server market is a key territory for Pure to add innovation and vastly increase its TAM.

Watch out: a potential blockbuster of a company could be about to break cover. ®

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