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Pure unsheathes the FlashBlade, cuts out NetApp legacy system

24-rack unit replaced with 15 'blades', performance gained, millions saved – so they say

A 24-rack NetApp system has been replaced with a single Pure Storage FlashBlade product at a customer site.

Two Pure Storage staffers have tweeted that the replaced system spanned 1,008 rack units, was fitted with 13,000 disk drives. A Pure Storage source said that the replaced system was from NetApp.

FlashBlade is Pure's flash-based system for fast access to unstructured data, and accompanies its FlashArray, which provides primary data storage. The intention is for FlashBlade storage to be used for Big Data analytics-type applications, and, we understand, the traditional scale-out filer apps that may have used Isilon and NetApp filers or similar products previously.

The scale-out FlashBlade system sits in a 4U cabinet with 15 storage blades inside it. Each blade has up to 52TB of on-board capacity, meaning 780TB of max raw capacity, which after losing about one third for N+2 erasure coding, and amplifying with 3:1 data reduction, is 1.5PB.

The customer's FlashBlade system costs millions of dollars less than and out-performs the NetApp array, we're told. Partly this is because flash is faster than disk but also because the FlashBlade IO load is automatically processed across all blades. In contrast, in a FAS cluster the IO of a volume can only be processed by a single controller.

Pure announced general availability of FlashBlade recently.

However, there are a few unknowns:

  • NetApp system name and capacity (ie FAS6000 or whatever)
  • Application workload types
  • Relative performance levels in terms of IOPS, throughput and application run time
  • Relative costs and TCO
  • Any other reasons for the purchase

Assuming the FlashBlade has 1.5PB raw capacity, the replaced disk drive system will have vastly more capacity, and stored data, than that so we might imagine the array is being repurposed to keep the data stored.

We've asked both Pure Storage and NetApp about this. Pure Storage said: "It is still fairly early days with the customer in question, and they're not yet willing to speak publicly."

NetApp's Adam Fore, director for solutions and product marketing, said: "Remind your readers that NetApp's all-flash array business is exceeding $1bn in annualized revenue run rate and NetApp is the fastest growing all-flash array vendor (1H16 IDC Storage Tracker)." ®

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