In our blog looking back on the first four years of Pure’s Evergreen Storage, we highlighted the many reasons why Pure’s customers love Evergreen so much, especially its groundbreaking ability to keep your storage modern and agile while fully protecting your investments. In this blog, we take a deeper look at some of the specific points that Dell EMC brought up in a recent blog focusing on Evergreen.

Answering Dell’s Questions

At Pure, we believe in transparency, and Evergreen has nothing to hide. So let’s give some straightforward answers to Dell’s questions for Pure about Evergreen:

1. Can you show me exactly how much Evergreen™ Storage Gold’s Free Every Three will save me versus Evergreen Silver and simply buying new controllers IF I ever need them?

To give you a sense of the cost difference between Gold and Silver, Evergreen Gold will increase the cost of an array on average by about 5% per year. It varies between arrays, but controllers typically represent 15% to 25% of the cost of an array. In other words, Evergreen Gold more than pays for itself in just one three-year refresh cycle with Free Every Three. Your savings will be even greater if you are like the majority of Pure customers whose data needs are growing, and you take advantage of Upgrade Flex or Capacity Consolidation to modernize your storage earlier and/or more often. This is precisely why Gold is by far our most popular Evergreen subscription offering.  

Furthermore, Evergreen Gold delivers demonstrated TCO savings compared to legacy storage because it avoids 100% of the cost of the “forklift” upgrades — the CAPEX rebuy of controllers and media required by legacy storage. These savings are conservatively 30% over a six-year period vs. re-buying legacy storage, and up to 65% and more when including migration costs and operational savings.

2. Can you explain how I am not essentially ‘rebuying’ controllers and/or capacity, with trade-in credits, when I use Upgrade Flex or Capacity Consolidation?

Pure’s approach with both Upgrade Flex and Capacity Consolidation is to give you full credit for the hardware you’re trading in toward new hardware, which is a totally unique approach in the industry. Let’s simply look at how both programs work:

Upgrade Flex:

Let’s say you bought a FlashArray//M70 in 2018 and wish to upgrade to a FlashArray//X90 in 2019 (both a faster and newer-generation controller that is NVMe-capable).  Pure creates Upgrade Flex bundles that deliver both the new controller with a bit of expanded capacity. (In our experience we’ve found that most of our users want to add additional capacity when growing their arrays.) These Upgrade Flex bundles are priced as follows:

[Cost of new //X90 controllers]

+ [Cost of new capacity]

– [Cost of //M70 controllers]

In this way, you get full trade-in credit for your controller investment, and only pay the incremental cost of new controllers.  

Capacity Consolidation:

Let’s say you have 25TB of raw capacity in SAS-based media in your Pure FlashArray. You are adding more workloads on the array and need a total of 100TB raw capacity. (Keep in mind that your effective capacity will likely be much more, given Pure’s industry-leading data reduction rates.) Since the new flash will likely be much more dense, and you might want to keep all the flash inside the base FlashArray chassis instead of adding an expansion shelf, you can trade in the old 25TB, still get 100TB, but only pay for 75TB. In other words, you do NOT have to re-buy the TB you already own! In the process, you will have maintained (or even reduced) your physical storage footprint. And if you are moving from SAS media, you also get the added performance of Pure DirectFlash all-NVMe modules.

In both cases, you get full credit for your existing gear, and you’re able to modernize your array by buying only incremental expansion capabilities. Goodbye forklift!

3. Can you explain why I need to purchase more capacity when I use Upgrade Flex to get faster controllers?

Pure designs our upgrade programs so you can easily transact through the channel with transparent pricing and not via “custom deals.” As such, we have designed a set of standardized Upgrade Flex bundles that include both upgraded controllers as well as modestly expanded flash capacity. We did this because we have found that the vast majority of customers who are upgrading their array’s controllers are doing so because they want to add more workloads and/or capacity to the array, which will in turn require more performance. It’s rare that one of our standard Upgrade Flex bundles doesn’t meet a customer’s needs, but if you have unique needs we are always happy to work out a custom expansion strategy directly.

4. Why do I need to purchase a new Evergreen Gold 3 year subscription to use Upgrade Flex?

You don’t. This is just a baseless assertion from Dell. You can use Upgrade Flex anytime you want as long as your Evergreen Gold subscription is current. You can use it in year one or year ten and any time in between — as many times as you want, even if you initially only purchased one year of Evergreen Gold.

Thank You for the Spotlight on Evergreen. Your Turn, Dell

We relish the opportunity to talk about Evergreen at Pure, so we’re happy to have Dell shine the light on it. While we’re at it, here are a few useful questions about storage agility, modernization, and investment protection that you can pose to your Dell representatives about the Dell EMC Future-Proof Loyalty Program:

  • What trade-in credit does Dell give for controller upgrades (including across array generations)? Is it full value when purchased or some current market value? Who decides what that current value is?  
  • When upgrading controllers (especially across array generations), will existing flash work with the new controllers, or do I need to upgrade the flash, too? And if so, at what additional cost?
  • What flash media trade-in program do you offer? Is it an official program or something I have to negotiate with my sales rep each time?
  • What is Dell EMC’s track record for non-disruptive upgrades (especially across array generations), where data stays in place and there’s no downtime (even planned) or performance hit?
  • Does “Clear Pricing” mean that maintenance and support rates will never increase after the initial contract is up? And without needing to do a rip-and-replace storage refresh? (Because if so, that appears to be the exact opposite of how Dell EMC has conducted its maintenance business… forever.) 
  • With the upcoming midrange refresh, what trade-in credit will I get for my likely soon-to-be-deprecated EMC Unity, EMC VNX (recently deprecated by Unity which itself will be deprecated?), EMC XtremIO (once deprecated VMAX but now being deprecated by PowerMAX?), Dell Compellent, or Dell Equallogic?
  • How much trade-in credit do EMC VMAX All-Flash customers get toward upgrading to NVMe in a PowerMax? Can any of the VMAX components be “upgraded” or do I essentially have to do forklift migration to an all-new PowerMAX to go to NVMe?
  • What is Dell EMC’s audited NPS score, and how does it compare to Pure’s 86.6?

We hope all the attendees enjoy Dell Technologies World next week. We look forward to hearing more about Dell’s plans for product line consolidation and how they intend to help their customers get through yet another cumbersome but inevitable transition.

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