Fast Object Storage on FlashBlade

Here at Pure, we like to think BIG. We’ve just announced the biggest software product launch in the history of the company, and perhaps the entire storage industry. In this blog, number four in a series of blogs, we’d like to introduce a game-changer in Purity for FlashBladeTM: S3-compliant object store. Feel free to learn more about the rest of our announcements in the blog series:

Cloud-Era Flash: “The Year of Software” Launch Blog Series

  1. The Biggest Software Launch in Pure’s History 
  2. Purity ActiveCluster – Simple Stretch Clustering for All 
  3. FlashBlade – Now 5X Bigger, 5X Faster 
  4. Fast Object Storage on FlashBlade (THIS BLOG)
  5. Purity CloudSnap – Delivering Native Public Cloud Integration for Purity
  6. Simplifying VMware VVols – Storage Designed for Your Cloud
  7. Purity Run – Opening FlashArray to run YOUR VMs & Containers
  8. Extending our NVMe Leadership: Introducing DirectFlash Shelf and Previewing NVMe/F
  9. Windows File Services for FlashArray: Adding Full SMB & NFS to FlashArray
  10. Policy QoS Enables Multi-Tier Consolidation
  11. Introducing Pure1 META: Pure’s AI Platform to enable Self-Driving Storage

Object is Big and Slow

Nearly 70% of the scale-out/scale-up storage market is object-based, and the remaining is file-based, according to IDC estimates. It’s an astounding factoid given object is the newest protocol among file and block. Popularized by Amazon S3, it has spawn new category of cloud-native applications, raised next generation of developers, and created a new industry in cloud storage.

However, organizations today are forced to make trade-offs when considering object store. Object is simple to use, eliminating complexities of scale and application development, yet it is frustratingly slow. So it is relegated to “cheap and deep” use cases, almost entirely used for archival and cold storage.  

Time to Thaw Some of That Data

On last month’s magazine cover (May 2017), the Economist claimed that data is the new oil, and is now the world’s most valuable resource. Conclusion is that the mounds of data that organizations collect have tremendous potential to drive competitive advantage and revenue.

Oil is a great analogy. It was not new- it existed in the subsurface of our planet for millions of years. However, it only became valuable in the last two centuries when innovative applications were invented to take advantage of its potential, like automobiles and planes.

We live in extraordinary times today. The promise of big data is finally being realized. It is fueled by new workloads like Spark and machine learning. In the storage industry, we are constantly awed by the accumulation of big data, but it is dwarfed by the exploding appetite for data by these applications. In just two years, the amount of compute required to train a deep neural network increased by 15x, comparing Microsoft ResNet in 2015 to Google NMT network this year, while the underlying data has yet to double in the same time frame.

There is a place for cheap and deep storage. However, In our view, true value of data can only be unlocked if it is put the work, at the rapid pace that these modern workloads demand.

Object Store is Now Fast Store

We’re thrilled to announce that ultra-fast, S3 object store is finally here, with the launch of Purity for FlashBlade 2. No longer does object have to mean slow.

Purity for FlashBlade is an incredible software technology, unprecedented in the storage industry. It is a massively distributed operating system built to scale to 75 blades and beyond, maximizing every bit of performance in each blade. Number of objects is virtually limitless, only capped by the capacity of the system. In a benchmark measuring time to first byte, Purity enables FlashBlade to deliver over 10x faster performance than Amazon AWS S3.

Most object systems available today are retrofits, a thin object translation layer that’s stitched on top of legacy NFS software stack. These storage systems are architected for cheap and deep, not for performance. A market certainly exists for archival and cold storage, but no system has yet to break new ground for fast object until now.

We all know how powerful FlashBlade is, and with the recent announcement of 75 blade-scale FlashBlade, it truly sets the bar beyond reach for others in the storage industry. Purity enables applications to tap into this performance through many supported protocols, such as NFS, SMB, and HTTP. At its core, however, Purity’s native tongue is object. It is engineered on a massive key-value pair database, distributed across all the resources in each blade. It is the same key-value pair technology that object store is fundamentally built on.

FlashBlade is a Time-Machine

The power of a truly purpose-built system can be revolutionary. A time machine transports someone into the future within hyper-accelerated travel time, condensing days to minutes. While a time machine doesn’t exist (yet), for a leading photo-sharing web company, FlashBlade came close to delivering the same experience.

Prior to FlashBlade, customer’s object storage solution consumed two and a half days of work to index one million images and videos in a bucket. With FlashBlade, it only took 15 seconds. That’s over 200x performance boost! It’s a difference between kicking off a job and going on a two-day vacation or going on a coffee break.

Ultra-fast object store is now possible. At their core, FlashBlade and its software are natively built for object. In the end, customers can reduce wait time from days to minutes and can finally start to put their data to work.

If you are using S3 object storage, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below in how ultra-fast object can help your organization.