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Evergreen™ Storage vs. Dell EMC “Future-Proof”

Introduction

Pure Storage is a company built on a passion for innovation. We pioneered a non-disruptive technology architecture and paired it with a business model that means you can buy our storage once – and not over and over, with data migrations every time. It’s like SaaS but for storage. We call this customer-friendly model Evergreen™ Storage – and our customers absolutely love it.

With customers voting with their wallets for our radically better experience, it is no surprise that other vendors must attempt to follow our lead. Dell EMC’s is the latest effort, and in this blog we’ll go through their “Future-Proof Storage Loyalty Program” announcement and compare/contrast it to Evergreen Storage.

The Dell EMC program has the following components:

  • 3 Year Satisfaction Guarantee
  • 4:1 Storage Efficiency Guarantee
  • Never-Worry Data Migrations
  • Hardware Investment Protection
  • All-Inclusive Software
  • Built-In Virtustream Storage Cloud

3 Year Satisfaction Guarantee

What Dell EMC is offering

Dell EMC has simply repackaged and branded a product warranty as a satisfaction guarantee, and their fine print reveals some of these limitations. “Customer must purchase a three year ProSupport agreement. Any refund would be prorated. Satisfaction is based on product compliance with product specifications…. Additional Terms and Conditions apply.”

This ambiguity leaves you exposed, so we recommend you ask Dell EMC for their unpublished terms and conditions. We expect that Dell EMC gets to define the meaning of “satisfaction” for the customer, and will ultimately decide, at its option, whether it provides you any refund.

The Pure Advantage

The reality is that we also offer a 3 year product warranty with a prorated refund, based on product specifications (our terms are online). This kind of warranty is pretty common, and has been for years.  But customers trying a new product want a lot more than simply a product warranty – they want peace of mind that even if it works to spec, they can return it if doesn’t meet their needs,

So, we go above and beyond and offer a 30-day “money back” right of return – with no limitations or conditions whatsoever. We call this customer-friendly guarantee Love Your Storage. No need for a proof of concept, just try us out without any risk. With Pure, you get to decide if you’re fully satisfied – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

With Pure’s Evergreen subscriptions, you get so much more than just maintenance and support.  You get a white-glove experience – our customers give rave reviews and are glad to do reference calls.  

4:1 Storage Efficiency Guarantee

What Dell EMC is Offering

Dell EMC is offering a blind 4:1 storage efficiency guarantee. No right-sizing or pre-assessments are required, though the guarantee appears to be subject to undisclosed best practices, workload assumptions and terms signed before purchase.

Dell EMC’s guarantee includes both dedupe and compression (which truly reduce data), but also thin provisioning and snapshots (which do not reduce data – yet inflate efficiency). Including such efficiency technologies along with data reduction artificially (and dramatically) inflates the results, distracting you, or worse, misleading you on sizing. Keep in mind that both Unity and SC are retrofits, and retrofits are inherently less efficient.

The Pure Advantage

Pure has a proven and published average data reduction rate of 5:1 inclusive of dedupe and compression only, which as mentioned above are true data reduction technologies and what really drive your configuration, footprint, and overall expense.

For a closer apples-to-apples compare, if we add just thin provisioning (but not snapshots), Pure has a proven and published average *total* reduction rate of 10.5:1, which is over 2.5X Dell EMC’s Efficiency Guarantee. Adding snapshots would take our “efficiency” dramatically higher, since you can in theory have thousands of full-volume snapshots on Pure arrays all taking no space – just metadata. We’d have an “efficiency” in the range of 100:1 or even 1000:1!

As you can see, thin provisioning and snapshots aren’t useful when comparing data reducing arrays. We recommend that you focus on true data reduction technologies – compression and de-duplication – as these actually shrink the data and use less flash.

We also offer all customers our Right-Size Guarantee. That way, you’ll get the storage you need, and you’ll never have to worry about buying an undersized array. We will work with you to gather your capacity requirements by workload – any workload. The more we know, the more accurate a configuration we can offer.

Behind the scenes, we derive expected data reduction rates by workload from our global installed base, apply them to your capacity requirements, and generate an efficient configuration with a written, guaranteed effective capacity.*

You will notice no data reduction discussion is required. You are free to focus on your effective capacity and your applications, and we take care of the rest. If your FlashArray does not deliver on the promised effective capacity as you migrate your data over the six-month period of the guarantee, we will make it right – which includes providing free additional flash, as-needed, to meet the written guarantee. And, we’ll do it non-disruptively.

Never-Worry Data Migrations

What Dell EMC is Offering

Dell EMC is offering seamless upgrades and built-in on-line data migration technology. For traditional storage arrays, data migrations are a necessary (and painful) part of the ownership experience. Dell EMC is attempting to simplify the process by providing migration software – but migrations still require valuable resources to handle these long, risky and complex tasks. At the end of the day, when you migrate to a new array, you are still rebuying the capacity and software you already purchased, and then migrating the data. This is called a “forklift refresh”.

The Pure Advantage

Rather than try to reduce the impact of data migrations piecemeal, we eliminated them completely. There is no need for any data migration software, teams, or risk with Pure. As we’ve said before, the last data migration you’ll ever make is to a Pure Storage array.

                                                                                                                                                     

How do we do it? Our unique Evergreen architecture is built to upgrade in place, non-disruptively to performance or availability, even across generations. That means your data never moves – your array simply upgrades around it. With Pure there’s no managing outages, no impact to your business, and truly no worries.

Hardware Investment Protection

What Dell EMC is Offering

Dell EMC is offering flexible credits that can be used for next generation technologies, without disclosing any specifics, other than to see the terms of the Dell EMC trade-in program.

Dell EMC doesn’t appear to be offering anything new. It is simply stating that you will get some trade-in credit for your old array (via a deeper discount) in a few years, when Dell EMC is likely to present you with a large maintenance renewal bill; at which time, you will need to do a forklift upgrade, rebuy the capacity you have already purchased, and engage in a risky (and costly) data migration project.

The Pure Advantage

With Pure, you simply buy your TBs once, and we keep them modern for you. It’s as simple as that. Our Free Every Three, Upgrade Flex, and Capacity Consolidation programs (all part of our Evergreen Gold subscription) work together to modernize your entire array, over and over, on your timeline. Evergreen is comprehensive, covering controllers, media, chassis, cables, software – you name it. Components mix-and-match, giving you flexibility – and preserving your investment. Different parts of the array can modernize at different times, something only possible because of our Evergreen architecture. And don’t forget that, under Flat & Fair, we have done away with maintenance price increases, so costs are never hidden and always predictable.

All-Inclusive Software

What Dell EMC is Offering

Dell EMC is offering to include all on-array and select off-array software needed to store, move, and manage data on Unity and SC All Flash.

So Dell EMC will include “select” software for Unity and SC All Flash – which may mean just RecoverPoint Basic and AppSync Basic. We recommend that you confirm that the “select” software is sufficient for you and that you won’t be upsold for missing “Advanced” features. The question that begs to be asked here is why isn’t all data management software included.

The Pure Advantage

When we say “all-inclusive” – we mean it. When you purchase any Pure Storage array you get all (not some) of our array software at an all-inclusive price. That includes the easy stuff like snapshots, clones, replication and encryption. But it also includes the really interesting (and typically really expensive) new features like active-active stretch metrocluster (with ActiveCluster) or native data portability for multi-cloud integration (with CloudSnap) in the future. Not to mention that we’re always improving our Pure1® cloud-based offering.  Check out our new Workload Planner that leverages Pure1 META, our global intelligence engine within Pure1.

This means that customers with an active Evergreen subscription can continue to enjoy our latest innovations as they become available and always at no additional cost through a non-disruptive Purity OE upgrade.

Built-In Virtustream Storage Cloud

What Dell EMC is Offering

Dell EMC is offering its newest Unity customers capacity on its Virtustream Storage Cloud, up to 20% of purchased storage capacity. While some starter capacity seems nice, we’d urge customers to take a longer view and consider their broader cloud strategy.

The Pure Advantage

We believe multi-cloud environments should be part of every customers hybrid cloud strategy, because this approach gives you the most flexibility (and data portability) should one cloud differentiate over the other.

We’re working hard to deliver on our vision for an open, native use of public cloud with CloudSnap. It is another technology innovation from Pure that will give customers an open, flexible, efficient and simple approach for hybrid cloud deployments, without introducing additional hardware/software tax and additional points of management on top of an already complex infrastructure.

Side Note

Dell EMC has offered this loyalty program only for Unity and SC All Flash customers. Don’t Dell EMC customers buying VMAX, XtremIO, Isilon or Data Domain products deserve “guaranteed satisfaction and investment protection” as well? Also, what happened to the “maintenance price protection” under the old Xpect More program? Is maintenance extortion back in their long-term playbook?

Conclusion

We applaud Dell EMC for taking steps to improve the experience for their customers. But as this blog illustrates, there is still a dramatic difference between Dell EMC’s offering and Evergreen Storage. Customers love our truly comprehensive approach to lifecycle ownership – with all of the pieces working together so you can focus on getting the most out of your storage – and not on  managing it, migrating it, or re-buying it.

Want to learn more? Give us a call! Stay tuned for our comparison of Evergreen with offerings from other competitors.

 

 

 

Written guarantee signed by parties specific to customer workloads