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Brian Pawlowski Joins Pure Storage as VP and Chief Architect

Brian Pawlowski recently joined Pure as a VP and Chief Architect. Brian has nearly 30 years of experience in the storage industry and was most recently an SVP at NetApp. Brian is an impressive storage veteran and we are excited to have him join the Pure family. I sat down with Brian to ask why he chose to join Pure and what he is looking forward to most in his new role. Below is a snapshot of our conversation.

What excites you about Pure Storage? Why did you decide to join Pure?
I admire the company’s vision and focus on enabling solid-state storage in the data center. Pure is always the company that other flash vendors have to beat. Pure has an aggressive view on the storage market and I want to be a part of that. The more I learn about the product, the more fascinated I am with it.

What is your role at Pure Storage?
As the Chief Architect, I will ensure that we provide a consistent user experience for our product and focus on delivering an experience that remains simple from deployment to provisioning and support. We want to continue to add capabilities and integration, while improving the simplicity for the customer. If you can reduce complexity, then you can reduce overall cost of ownership.

What prior experience will you draw on most in this new role?
With close to 30 years of experience in the storage market, I’ve been at companies during periods of hyper growth and it is critical during this time to maintain product quality and simplicity. We will need to continue to delight the customer to maintain our business performance. We also have to continue to grow the customer base while maintaining the current base. I spent a lot of time in a previous CTO role understanding technology trends and looking for opportunities where technology is changing to understand how this can be used to benefit customers. This is something I will continue at Pure.

What do you think is most important to customers?
Customers want to improve their business agility, so they can make better business decisions. Customers also want the best of breed partners to help them be more competitive in their space.

What do you think is most important to a customer when considering implementing flash storage?
A few key factors they consider are the performance, resilience, consistent low latency and if the solution is competitive on cost. Disk can’t provide the consistent low latency that businesses need to accelerate their applications. Once companies see the business impact that flash has, they find more applications to run on flash. The key is to focus on real world workloads, artificial performance tests don’t show the real difference with flash. Resilience is a must for any critical storage. Disk architectures have been hardened over many years, customers should test their flash solutions for similar resilience. Finally evaluate the total cost of the solution. In addition to the initial purchase, look at the long term costs including management, power, space, maintenance and upgrades.

Do you see flash as generating widespread adoption over the next 12 months? What are the biggest barriers to adoption?
Definitely, people are revising their estimates of the size of the flash market upward. After customers see the application acceleration results from initial deployments, they move out of the early adopter and into the wide deployment phase. The barrier I often hear about is cost, but if you can provide the customer with a cost effective solution that takes storage efficiency into consideration then this barrier is easily overcome. Customers also want to ensure that storage vendors have a global network of partnerships to support their data centers all over the world.