It’s only April, and this year there’s already been a ton of talk in the storage industry about product line sunsets, migration plans, and looming refresh cycles. So we found it a bit humorous to see Dell pull out the punches this week to question the value of Pure’s Evergreen™ Storage program, amidst everything they have going on.
We just so happen to be coming up on Evergreen’s four-year birthday since its introduction in 2015. It seems an apropos time to take stock of how the program has delivered, and how it has ultimately changed the storage industry for the better by bringing modern subscription models to the market. But before we tell you about it, let’s see what some Pure customers have to say:
- “Pure Storage’s Evergreen business model removed the anxiety of the traditional storage renewal. It’s a brilliant example of the simplicity you get with Pure… The typical concerns about future issues – capacity, upgrades, maintenance and how much it will all cost us again – are no longer an issue.” — Matt Harris, Head of IT at MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™
- “We get full credit for what’s already been purchased. That is a huge benefit for us because every other vendor’s model requires a forklift upgrade and a lot of disruption. We have already taken advantage of [UpgradeFlex] twice.” — Mike Lawler, Senior Systems Engineer at Lakeland Health
- “The Evergreen program is the most creative and cost-effective solution out there for keeping up with the rapid growth in storage capacity.” — Dale Sanders, President of Technology at Health Catalyst
Evergreen Storage is the combination of a 100% non-disruptive product architecture with a flexible buying program, designed to free you from the legacy storage approach of complex, risky, and expensive forklift upgrades and data migrations every three to five years, replacing it with a subscription-based storage experience that keeps your data in-place and just gets better and better over time. Since introduction, we’re happy to announce:
- >2,500 Evergreen controller upgrades have occurred since the inception of the program, thus keeping those thousands of arrays in active service and helping customers avoid having to re-buy their storage.
- Each of those upgrades has happened online and with data in-place, not requiring planned downtime, swing gear, or complex consulting services.
- Evergreen has been praised by storage analysts, including Gartner remarking that: “Pure Storage’s Evergreen Storage program — which enables clients to avoid all expensive and disruptive ‘forklift’ future upgrades, and never ‘repurchase’ any storage capacity they already own — is consistently cited by customers as a ‘huge plus’ in the column of ‘Reasons to Buy.’”
- Evergreen has indeed become so compelling that nearly every major storage vendor has trotted-out an attempt to mimic the program. All these attempts fall short because legacy vendors have stuck with aging architectures, and they are missing the fundamental Evergreen Architecture that makes Evergreen possible.
- And finally, Evergreen keeps expanding. From its roots with Free Every Three to adding the Right Size Guarantee, UpgradeFlex, and Capacity Consolidation, to most recently a full OPEX offering with Evergreen Storage Service (ES2) — like Pure, Evergreen is just getting started!
Comparing Evergreen to the Competition
With Dell’s FUD machine cranked-up to overdrive, let’s take a bit of time to answer some of the key questions people have about Pure’s Evergreen approach and point out some of the major differences between it and the Dell EMC Future-Proof Loyalty Program (DEFPLP).
- It all starts with architecture. At Pure, Evergreen started as a product architecture designed to enable continuous upgrades of storage controllers (CPUs, DRAM) and flash, both of which improve at a rapid rate, along with every other part of the array whether backplane, chassis, cables, software – everything. This DNA at Pure runs deep — we’re always committed within Engineering to deliver non-disruptive upgradability in our products, so that you can constantly evolve vs. having to replace your storage every three to five years. Our competitors simply haven’t had this commitment. This, in our opinion, is particularly evident at Dell, which is on the cusp of sunsetting three separate mid-range storage platforms (Unity, XtremIO, and Compellent) in favor of a new and as yet unproven mid-range offering, and who recently shipped PowerMAX as yet another forklift upgrade in the high-end from VMAX.
- A real efficiency guarantee. At Pure we believe in our data reduction, so much so that we can guarantee you get the storage you need with every purchase, and we base that guarantee upon actually reduced data (i.e. deduplication and compression). Dell’s 4-to-1 efficiency guarantee attempts to rope in thin provisioning and snapshot savings, which aren’t even data reduction at all. If we were to include those things in our guarantee we’d clock in around 10:1 efficiency on average. But again – since thin provisioning and snapshots don’t reduce data, we don’t include their effects.
- Full-value trade-in for upgrades — controllers and/or capacity. Dell offers a “trade-in value” at their discretion (currently at $150/TB on a raw basis) toward new purchases — assuming you want to trade in the old array and migrate your data. For a typical new storage purchase we expect that would work out to less than 10% trade-in credit. Pure lets you individually upgrade either controllers or capacity, doing so online without disruption and getting full credit for what you own (yes that’s right – 100%). You only have to pay the incremental difference in cost for new controllers and/or expanded capacity. Once you own a TB from Pure you never have to buy it again. More on this below.
- Flexible, on-demand OPEX consumption to the cloud and back with ES2. While Dell is happy to refer you to Dell Financial Services for a lease of sorts, Pure offers Evergreen Storage Service (ES2). ES2 is an on-demand, pay-per-use OPEX consumption service that allows you to subscribe to storage that gets placed in your data center. Unlike leases that lock you in for 3-5 years, the Evergreen Storage Service has terms as short as 1 year – so you can start easily and expand from there. And with Pure’s recently announced Cloud Block Store for AWS, you can easily move the ES2 capacity you subscribe to in and out of the cloud with unified technology and management.
- Loyalty is earned, not bought. This last point is perhaps the most important: A guarantee is only worth the backing of the vendor that provides it — and your trust that they’ll do right by you as a customer. That’s why at Pure, the single most important gauge of the company is our NetPromoter score, currently at an audited industry-high of 86.6. Others are, well, not even close. So get beyond the T+Cs, and work with the vendor you (and many others like you) believe will drive innovation and earn your loyalty through delivery and action, not hollow loyalty programs.
Thanks for having a read. If you’re curious to learn more about how Evergreen works please check out the next post in our series, where we directly address some of Dell EMC’s mistaken claims and questions about Evergreen.