I'm not very fond of proprietary hardware. But, as I wrote in March when I saw it for the first time, Pure Storage's FlashBlade seems to demonstrate that Pure has all the attributes to become a primary storage vendor and compete on equal terms against the usual suspects.
No longer a startup
Pure Storage is demonstrating to the world that it is not a startup any longer and is maturing very quickly. The product line-up is growing, as are the number of use cases Pure can now cover with its products.
It is still doing this with the speed and flexibility that is common to startups - a real threat to established vendors, in my opinion. The recipe is quite simple: nice guys, good marketing, great products and an amazing leadership which is shaping a great mid/long term strategy.
Pure gave what I think was one of the best presentations in the SFD10 event. The level of detail in the presentation and the prompt answers to all the questions from delegates highly impressed me.
This product sounds really good, on paper at least. FlashBlade is still at the beginning of its life (and this is also why it is not GA yet), but you can't say that the architecture is not designed to face all the challenges they are going to meet in the high performance scale-out file and object field, with HPC-like and analytics workloads in the front row and other kinds of high-demand use cases following immediately after.
Closing the circle
I hope to see some integration between FlashArray and FlashBlade in the future. For example, snapshot offloading from FlashArray to FlashBlade or using FlashBlade as a hub for multiple FlashArray replicas… somewhat similar to what NetApp is doing with its Data Fabric product.
This is just more wishful thinking at the moment. Pure will probably concentrate its efforts on improving the number of supported protocols (only NFS and S3 at launch), scalability of the system (now only one chassis with plans to have a full rack configuration soon) as well as additional features.
One thing I'd like to note here is that just a few weeks after Pure Accelerate (the event where FlashBlade was presented), EMC introduced an all-flash array version of Isilon (project Nitro) at EMCWorld which addresses the same identical use cases – and with a very similar form factor. It's a great validation for Pure, isn't it? ®