This post was originally published on this siteQuick post. I have published my ActiveCluster implementation guide for vSphere Metro Storage Cluster (vMSC). You can find it...
In 2014, Pure Storage pioneered a new approach to storage acquisitions, maintenance and support (M&S), and upgrades: Evergreen™ Storage.
Over the past two years, Evergreen Storage has sparked massive, customer-positive change in the storage industry. Flash wear warranty timeframes are generally increasing, maintenance and support rates are becoming flatter and more predictable, and in some cases one-time controller upgrades are included in those maintenance rates. These efforts are a step in the right direction for customers – but we as vendors can deliver more.
Customers tell us they want a comprehensive approach to storage acquisition and ownership lifecycles. Simply put, they want storage that works like a cloud or a SaaS application – storage that stays online, that keeps improving, and that doesn’t have to be re-purchased over and over again. Traditional scale-up arrays (including all-flash retrofits) continue to require “forklift” style tech refresh and re-buys, where the whole array is replaced periodically. Even next-generation scale-out all-flash arrays require “node-decay” –style tech refreshes and re-buys, where old nodes are eventually pulled out of the cluster and repurchased as new nodes that join the cluster.
Evergreen Storage breaks that re-buy cycle, and today we’re announcing two exciting innovations that make it even more simple, revolutionary and comprehensive:
A Storage Guarantee Focused on the Outcome: Effective Capacity
To make the economics of all-flash work, we developed a broad set of data reduction technologies that dramatically reduce the amount of raw flash media required to deliver the effective capacity customers need to run applications. For every 100TB of effective capacity it typically only takes 35TB of Pure Storage. Early adopters were willing to invest the time to understand how our data reduction would work with their data, typically by running a proof of concept (POC).
But with the proliferation of all-flash arrays and their many different data reduction technologies and claims, mainstream customers are faced with confusing analysis and choices. They also shoulder the risk that, for whatever reason, they don’t get the actual effective capacity they need regardless of any data reduction marketing claims or even reduction rate guarantees. Those customers have spoken loud and clear that they want to buy on an effective capacity basis and not have to think about data reduction, let alone worry about and running a POC to test it. They want the efficiency benefits of data reduction, but without the risk.
We are introducing our Right-Size Guarantee to do exactly that. Here’s how it works:
First, we’ll work with you to gather your effective capacity requirements by workload – any workload. The more we know, the more efficient the configuration we can offer. Behind the scenes, we derive expected data reductions by workload from our global installed base, apply them to your effective capacity requirements, and generate an efficient configuration with a written, guaranteed effective capacity number.*
You’ll 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. With the Right-Size Guarantee, you’ll get the storage you need, and you’ll never have to worry about buying an undersized array.
Evergreen™ Storage Keeps Controllers Modern, But What About the Flash?
Customers love keeping their Pure Storage array controllers modern as well as having their investments protected. At the same time, their capacity needs are exploding as a result of digital IT initiatives, and they need ways to handle that tremendous growth. Our flash module capacities and densities are increasing dramatically to help here (without trading off performance density), and over time customers add these newer, denser shelves into their configuration. Completely brand new arrays use all new flash and as a result are denser and more space efficient. Fortunately for all our customers, our FlashArray is engineered to be Evergreen and we had the foresight to design in forward compatibility with evolving storage protocols such as PCIe/NVMe. There is a lot of innovation happening in flash media and customers want to be able to leverage it quickly, non-disruptively, and cost-effectively.
We are introducing our Capacity Consolidation program so that all our customers can benefit from increasing flash densities to support high capacity growth, while keeping their arrays modern over time across both controllers and flash. Here’s how it works: when you purchase a new storage expansion you can install that new storage in your array, consolidate the data from your old storage, return your old storage capacity to Pure and receive a credit for the TBs you already own – For up to 25 percent of the new capacity depending on the upgrade scenario.+
From a technical perspective, the data on the older, consolidated capacity is automatically and non-disruptively migrated into the newer, denser capacity. This new feature is called Shelf Evacuation – it’s automated and non-disruptive, and you can read more about it here. This is another example of how Evergreen Storage combines purpose-built technology and business model innovations to deliver much simpler, easier and more cost efficient storage. Let’s look at a few examples of how this works.
First up we have a straightforward shelf to shelf upgrade and consolidation, where the customer has an existing 12TB shelf. Using Capacity Consolidation, the customer expands the array with a 44TB shelf and receives a credit for 12TB of that 44TB expansion. The customer consolidates the old 12TB shelf and only pays the incremental 32TB difference (i.e. 44TB less 12TB). The same 2U of rack space is now 367% more dense, all non-disruptively, and the customer doesn’t re-buy the TBs they already own.
In this case, the customer has an existing 24TB shelf and highly values density and frequent consolidation, and so is willing to repurchase some TBs to consolidate early rather than waiting to consolidate using larger capacities which would enable a full consolidation credit. Using Capacity Consolidation, the customer expands the array with a 44TB shelf and receives a credit for 11TB of that 44TB expansion. The customer consolidates the old 24TB shelf and pays an incremental 33TB difference (i.e. 44TB less 11TB). The same 2U of rack space is now 180% more dense, all non-disruptively.
This final example shows just how compelling it will be for customers to upgrade, expand, and consolidate as we introduce ever higher capacities over time. Our customer here started with our largest previous generation FlashArray FA-450 model a couple years ago with 70TB of raw storage in five external shelves, or about 200TB of effective usable capacity at average data reduction rates. Because the array is Evergreen, the customer receives a FlashArray//m50 controller upgrade included with a 3-year maintenance renewal at the end of year three that upgrades it into a FlashArray//m50-70TB array. The customer needs to expand capacity and so purchases an Upgrade Flex bundle (38TB + FlashArray//m70 – planned for future) to add an additional 38TB to the array in the chassis, while also getting a credit for the FlashArray//m50 controllers. Finally, the customer uses Capacity Consolidation to consolidate the four 12TB shelves into a single 180TB shelf upgrade, and the 24TB shelf into a 90TB shelf upgrade (both planned for future) all with full credit. This array now holds a lot of data, about a petabyte of effective capacity at our average data reduction rates. From beginning to end, this array with Evergreen Storage gained 4.4X more raw capacity (from 70 TB to 308TB) and is 8X more dense, all non-disruptively.
In summary, with Capacity Consolidation, customers can, for the first time, keep scaling their storage up while simultaneously shrinking their physical storage footprint – all non-disruptively, and without having to re-buy their capacity.
Storage That Helps You Do More, Faster
The newly expanded Evergreen™ Storage helps you take the guesswork and risk out of acquiring all-flash storage while helping you keep your entire storage footprint modern and dense over time. The efficiency, simplicity, and cost-effectiveness of Evergreen Storage means you can spend more of your time, money, and energy innovating in areas further up the IT stack, whether increasing the agility of your virtualization and hybrid cloud infrastructure or enabling lines of business to create new and differentiated front-office applications and end customer experiences.
*Written guarantee signed by parties specific to customer workloads.
+Subject to basic program terms. Ask for a copy.