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Evergreen Storage in Action: A Customer Perspective

Lamar Advertising Company is the nation’s leading out-of-home advertising company, with more than 310,000 displays in North America, including the most digital billboard inventory out of any company. In this guest blog, Peter Dunn, Director of Infrastructure for Lamar Advertising Company, discusses his experience as a long-term customer of Pure Storage:

When we needed to look for new storage back in 2013, all-flash technology was pretty new, and Pure Storage was a name most people hadn’t heard of. But after a proof-of-concept trial involving some critical production applications, we were convinced that Pure was the solution to our need for higher-performing, more reliable storage. It’s a decision we haven’t regretted for a second.

Being new to both flash and Pure Storage, our initial plan was to run a few high-priority applications on the Pure array. But once we saw the performance – and the high levels of data reduction – we started adding as many workloads as we could. Soon, we had 100% of our company on Pure Storage.

In our four-plus years as a Pure customer, we progressed to each new product generation – from the FlashArray 420 to the //M50 and currently we’re operating on a //M70. With each new hardware introduction by Pure, the density has increased significantly, meaning ever-greater savings in data-center floor space, power and cooling.

Every time we have upgraded, the process has been totally nondisruptive. Before buying Pure, I never would have believed it possible to upgrade software – not to mention swap out an entire array – without shutting down production. But we have never had a minute of downtime with a Pure upgrade.

It’s impossible not to be enthusiastic about the technical aspects of a Pure array, but over time, what impresses me most about Pure are the subtler benefits that make a significant difference. Three in particular come to mind.

First, dealing with the Pure support team is a remarkable experience. I know of no other support team that proactively calls to tell you about a problem in your infrastructure, before you know about it yourself—often when it isn’t even with their equipment. With Pure, you always know they have your best interests at heart. It’s a relationship of trust that goes well beyond any traditional vendor/customer arrangement I’ve experienced in my career.  And that trust is priceless to our business.

Second, the Evergreen™ Storage program is brilliant. Not only does it ensure we always have the latest technology, it takes the guesswork out of planning for the future. Instead of knowing that someday you’ll have to do a dreaded forklift upgrade, with Evergreen you are assured a smooth, non-disruptive path to higher performance, greater density and more features. Your investment is always protected, and you never buy storage twice.

Third, by removing all the headaches associated with legacy storage, Pure frees an IT staff to spend their time on more valuable activities. Early on, our storage engineers questioned Pure when they promised to eliminate most of the tasks traditionally associated with storage management. It turned out to be true and now they have the time to focus on why they got into technology in the first place – to create solutions that add value to the business. None of them ever wants to go back to the old days.