I have been here at Pure Storage for 4.5 years now, and in a way, I have watched our company “grow up.” Heck, I have done a bit of growing up with it. Pure Storage turns ten years old this year and what an incredible ride it has been. This year marked the 4th annual Pure Storage Accelerate conference, and I continue to be fired up about what our engineers build. It’s not easy to stay at the forefront of innovation, but we continue to push the envelope of what’s possible, and that excites me and fuels my competitive spirit as we genuinely build a modern data experience for our customers.
The “Modern Data Experience” was the theme of this year’s Accelerate conference, and some may wonder “What exactly does that mean?”
After all, I feel like we have been providing a modern data experience for the last ten years. Our business model alone is still highly differentiated and industry-leading. So what’s new… what’s going to make the next ten years something we can look back on and be equally proud of?
Well, there’s no denying that our initial FlashArray™ product took legacy storage by surprise when it launched back in 2009. We made an impact on the data center, and over a short period, we made flash mainstream. Storage infrastructure has modernized and continues to stay fresh with our Evergreen™ program. It was the first time customers seemed to actually enjoy dealing with a storage company. It seemed mind-blowing at the time that a piece of IT hardware and all the associated new array software features could get better with age just by maintaining your Evergreen subscription.
However, this was just the beginning. Fast forward to 2019, and we now have an expanded portfolio of products and many amazing new use cases.
Customers have put their trust in us to make more strategic use of their data, and we plan to put even more emphasis on this over the next few years.
As I walked the show floor and took it all in, I got a chance to talk to many customers about our plans for the future. Many were excited to see our continued focus on simplification via our API-first strategy and common management tools. The story gets even more interesting as you think about how the use of AI-driven analytics tools like Pure1® can help create a predictive approach to management vs. a proactive one.
I believe the world to be one where data can live anywhere — across protocols, tiers, service levels, and even across clouds.
Let’s discuss tiers for a moment, I know what you’re going to say, Pure doesn’t believe in tiers. Well, please don’t shed a tear as I tell you this because it’s nothing to cry about. It’s something to be excited about. The newly introduced FlashArray//C is going to provide us with a new “class” (not tier) of Flash to reinforce our initial promise of “Flash for all workloads!” The FlashArray//C is a capacity-optimized 100% NVMe FlashArray that provides modern enterprise features, high-capacity, QLC optimized solution with hybrid-like (disk/flash) economics. So essentially we’re making flash economical for those Tier 2 workloads that might currently sit on 7200 or 5400 RPM drives! I used to joke and say that if your workload was “Big and slow, flash a no go.” Not anymore! Legacy hybrid solutions bet on caching algorithms that result in inconsistent performance and take up a LOT of data center rack space. We believe there’s a better way, and its name is the FlashArray//C.
FlashArray//C continues our quest to eliminate spinning rust for good and make hedging your bets on hybrid solutions a thing of the past! FlashArray//C is Generally Available now, and we’re incredibly excited to take on Tier 2 workloads head-on with this new and exciting offering!
I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to touch on the bezel, it is mesmerizing.
It looks like an array that you might find in Batman’s bat cave. We can be a little cult-like about Orange socks, shoes, a polo shirt – you name it. Bezel design is also something we take seriously if we’re going to give you a “modern data experience,” we might as well do it with some style.
It’s so exciting to see us provide our customers with a solution to address tier 2 workload but what about performance, can things go any faster?
Why “Yes,” they can! We introduced “DirectMemory™ Cache” as a performance enhancement for our top-of-the-line FlashArray//X models (//X70R2 and //X90R2). One might say that “fast”… just got faster! This Storage Class Memory boost and software optimization will provide unprecedented performance for latency-sensitive enterprise workloads. DirectMemory can integrate into your existing //X70R2 and //X90R2 without disruption, downtime, or any impact to performance. We believe other storage manufacturers that have recently added, or will be adding, SCM will require customers to either undertake a forklift upgrade to a model that supports the technology or execute a disruptive redesign of the storage array that is in place. Adopting innovation without disrupting our customers’ critical business applications has always been our mantra and “DirectMemory” follows this same path.
Earlier I talked about my belief that data should be able to run anywhere, at Accelerate we announced that Cloud Block Store™ is now GA, this will allow our customers to extend our rich data services into AWS to make hybrid cloud easier to consume but with the same enterprise Tier 1 experience they’re used to on-premises.
We may have taken a bit longer to provide these hybrid cloud services, but we wanted to do it the right way! At GA, you can have two Cloud Block Store instances running in separate AWS availability zones in a synchronous, active-active cluster to provide the highest possible availability for your applications. This gives our customers the choice of running anything from development applications to the most critical of workloads. This may seem like a standard way to deploy tier-1 storage functionality, however, most other storage manufacturers have chosen to sacrifice tier-1 availability and omit highly-available controller functionality from their cloud deployments. Thus, we are proud to not be a mere “me-too” cloud deployment. Rather, we bring the experience that customers expect from a tier-1 data platform into the cloud.
Innovation doesn’t stop at the products we sell; we also realize that the cloud has changed how our customers consume technology. IDC did a study to validate this by asking customers if they prefer CAPEX purchases, leases or “As-a-Service” offerings for both on-premises and off-premises. In both instances, there’s been a movement towards “as-a-service” models over the traditional CAPEX and Lease options. We want our customers to have the ultimate in flexibility and ease of consumption; our Pure as-a-Service program is proof of that. However, we wanted to take that concept to the next level, so at Accelerate, we extended this “as-a-service” model to our entire portfolio. I expect you will see our competitors follow-suit, but we’re no stranger to disruption, so we decided to do it now!
This is just a taste of some of the exciting news coming out of Accelerate. We’re laser-focused on YOU (our customers and prospects), as without you on this journey with us we wouldn’t be where we are today. The path to the “modern data experience” is exciting, and together we can build a better world with data!