From our perspective, Dell|EMC has a long history of creating complexity—and then consolidating complexity in its mid-range storage portfolio. This consolidation was something customers always felt and were forced to endure, especially if they “chose wrong” and were stuck with the product that ultimately lost out. Even today, it’s fascinating that a customer may still have to deal with XtremeIO, Compellent, Unity, and now the new PowerStore (plus Unity Hybrid). 

How Do You Align Storage Growth with Your Company’s Growth?

If you’re a new business, do you start with the mid-range offering and build your business around PowerStore? Then, when you outgrow it—either from a business or performance/capacity standpoint—do you have to move to PowerMax? Dell offering multiple independent (and unintegrated) array platforms for block storage solves what we perceive as a Dell problem (lack of organic innovation), but creates customer problems (pain, expense, and risk incurred by data migrations and multi-platform management complexity). 

At Pure, that’s not how we innovate and scale. With Pure, you can start with our entry-level FlashArray //X10 and scale all the way to a fully-loaded //X90 with storage-class memory. And you’re always using the most modern CPU set, because it’s constantly kept current through our Evergreen™ program without having to switch product lines. 

Our FlashArray software, the Purity Operating Environment, is the same for our performance-optimized //X series and our capacity-optimized //C. There’s no need to change how you store, manage, and deliver data for tier-1 or tier-2 workloads. Upgrades are as simple as a non-disruptive controller swap. And with UpgradeFlex, you get trade-in credit for your old controllers and pay only the difference. You could even deploy to Pure Cloud Block Store™ (a software-defined storage version of Purity) to extend your datacenter in a hybrid/multicloud configuration.

Pure supports your business with an enterprise storage solution that allows you to start anywhere and go anywhere. Pure’s product family is designed for simplicity and built on modularity to provide the greatest degree of operational agility possible. Dell’s focus appears to be more around reducing the engineering costs of its multiple product lines. It leaves me wondering whether they’re focused on solving customer problems or self-created Dell problems.

A Problem of Options

Even within PowerStore, Dell created different incompatible models (T and X series—not to mention keeping the Unity Hybrid offering) to deal with different features and deployment configurations. More choice equals more testing, more complexity, and ultimately, forces customers to deal with more tradeoffs. And for customers coming from some of the legacy Dell products, PowerStore may not be an upgrade at all. It could be a downgrade for those who now lose synchronous replication and have to revert to decades-old RAID 5. 

Pure has simplified the storage experience from the day we first opened for business. We ensure that all array software features included in our portfolio focus on you and your challenges. We don’t ask you to make tradeoffs regarding features or product models. 

Delivering Reality, Not Mythology

I’m always skeptical when vendors lean too far into the future. Dell announced a bunch of capabilities as part of PowerStore with an asterisk to note they’ll be available later.  With a track record of having release delays multiple times (even PowerStore was close to 2 years late), we think talking about the future is a daydream until V1 is broadly deployed and proven at productive customers.

Conversely, Pure has a trusted and proven platform today. One that’s built upon seven generations of Pure FlashArray™, all as non-disruptive upgrades from prior generations. We’ve demonstrated a commitment and kept our promise to consistently improve and innovate on that platform, ensuring that your investment in Pure always builds and leads to the future. This allows us to stay focused on the reliability, trust, and simplicity that you want and expect. We don’t ask customers to spend their time working around our problems. 

Sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words (or 746 words in the case of this post).  Let me share Pure’s history of delivering releases and innovations since its inception. And delivering them all non-disruptively and at full performance during an upgrade compared to the performance degradation to 50% for PowerStore. 

As a parent, I always tell my children to live in the moment and plan for the future. Always know with whom you want to be friends with and whom you can trust. At Pure, we’ve built a business on gaining your trust. Demand the same from all your vendors.

Read what my colleague Scott Baker has to say in “Data Storage Decisions Shouldn’t Leave You With Doubts.”

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