In the first post of this series, we looked at what makes storage agile from an architectural perspective. Put simply: If your storage is built from the ground up for easy modular upgrades, you can expand, grow, and stay modern at the pace of your business. Storage becomes an enabler of innovation, instead of a roadblock.

Unfortunately, legacy storage is likely adding complexity and holding you back rather than making your job easier and propelling you forward. That’s why Pure Storage® designed all of its products, like FlashArray™, from the ground up to be upgraded with data in place, without downtime or performance loss.

In this post, we’ll look at the business side of storage agility. Shouldn’t your storage investment be protected, so you don’t have to re-buy it over and over again? And shouldn’t your storage vendor stand behind their promises, and offer a transparent, verifiable history of doing so?

We think so, and that’s exactly why we launched Evergreen Storage™ in 2015. With Free Every Three included controller upgrades, anytime Upgrade Flex controller upgrades, and Capacity Consolidation for keeping flash dense and modern, Pure’s Evergreen program pioneered eliminating storage re-buys and providing business agility. Pure users rely on Evergreen Storage to keep their arrays agile and modern and to have real peace of mind.

Our cloud team doesn’t have to plan on big, expensive, and complex storage upgrades every five years. With Evergreen, we’re always current.Dale Sanders, President of Technology, Health Catalyst

How Does Your Storage Measure Up?

Does Your Vendor Offer Simple, Included-Controller Upgrades?

We’re all too familiar with the three- to five-year legacy storage cycle of purchase, obsolescence, and re-purchase of storage infrastructure. What was once a system that met your needs now is either too slow, constrained on capacity, or just lacking key features you need to run your business. Sometimes users can extend the maintenance and support on their aging but still “just good enough” systems, but that’s often at significant markup from the original contract.

Eventually the cycle begins again and you have to look for a new storage system that fits today’s needs, and hopefully at least some of tomorrow’s needs as well. Ripping out old storage, buying new storage, going through a massive data migration project… it’s expensive and wasteful. And not how we do it at Pure.

Don’t Settle for the Status Quo

With Evergreen Storage, there’s no need for you to re-buy your storage over and over again just to stay modern. Industry analyst firm ESG recently validated that Evergreen can save users up to 45% in total cost of ownership (TCO) over legacy storage. We were the first in the industry to offer an included-upgrades program—called Free Every Three—designed to keep your storage array modern at about the same pace that legacy storage was refreshed, every three years.

With Free Every Three, you can upgrade to the latest-generation version of your current-model controller when renewing your Evergreen Gold subscription, usually every three years. As discussed in our previous post, Pure’s Evergreen architecture makes this completely non-disruptive: Your data stays in place, available and performing at full speed even during controller upgrades.

Free Every Three is well-suited to users who want routine modernization, but whose workloads may not be growing rapidly. You stay at the latest generation of technology, while benefiting from improvements in processing, throughput, capacity limits, host connectivity, and many other areas. And it’s included in your Evergreen subscription, for the ultimate in simplicity and peace of mind.

(Here Come the Copycats)

Recently, some legacy storage vendors have started to offer controller upgrades or trade-ins. But they don’t provide truly modular architectures, so it’s unclear just what benefits you’ll get from controller upgrades or how disruptive they’ll be. These offers vary widely in their benefits. Some include promises of unspecified trade-in credits toward newer controllers or cloud services. Some offer a next-generation controller, but take pains to say that it might not be the latest generation of controller—just one generation better than what you already have. Or, it may be limited to a one-time upgrade, regardless of the length of your support contract.

And unfortunately the terms of these vendor upgrade offers are often hard to find, and even harder to understand. In other words, there are a LOT of marketing promises, but few concrete details. And since they’re so new, there’s not much track record to rely on. Compare this with Pure’s Evergreen Storage (please!). We post all of our Evergreen terms and conditions, in plain language—just as we have since the program launched in 2015. That’s because we believe in transparency, not games and vague promises. It’s just one of the ways that Pure provides you peace of mind about your storage purchase.

Does Your Vendor Offer Upgrades Whenever You Need Them?

If recent events have taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected can happen at any time in business, and IT has to respond with agility. So what about situations when you have to upgrade now?

The Evergreen™ Gold subscription includes Upgrade Flex, which enables you to trade in older controllers for the very latest generation, on demand, at any time. You can also easily upgrade within the FlashArray™ product family, say from an //X50 to an //X70. It’s the only ownership program that allows you to do both at once. With total flexibility and agility, Upgrade Flex is the most popular Evergreen controller upgrade option.

What’s more, there are no limits to the number of times you can use Upgrade Flex. You get a full trade-in credit for your old controllers—anytime. Upgrade Flex even comes bundled with added capacity so you only need to buy the array model and capacity you need now, and can easily grow and expand it as your needs change. No need to waste resources by over-provisioning your storage and trying to guess where your needs will be in three to five years, like you have to do with many legacy storage platforms.

Like many organizations, you may want to move more and more workloads from older legacy arrays after seeing the simplicity of FlashArray. Upgrade Flex fits this scenario perfectly, especially during unforeseen events when workloads have grown faster than anticipated or new workloads are required. Recently, as organizations have scrambled to adjust to a new normal and shifted to digital and remote interaction, many Pure users have been able to ramp up VDI and other solutions quickly.

Compare Upgrade Flex to some of the recent offerings from legacy vendors, and you’ll find the others nowhere near as flexible. Most vendors lack any kind of on-demand controller upgrade offer. And for those that claim to offer something, it is often very limited: It’s one-time only or forces you to choose between next-generation (again, not latest-generation) or next-model. That’s not agility. And it certainly doesn’t instill peace of mind that a vendor stands behind you.

Evergreen Gold also offers Capacity Consolidation¹, which is unique in the storage industry. It lets you trade in older, less dense flash for newer, denser flash. As a result, you can shrink your storage footprint even as you expand, without ever having to re-buy your capacity.

Does Your Storage Vendor Have a Proven Track Record of Delivering on its Promises?

We set out from the start to be a different kind of storage company, one that strives to provide transparency and peace of mind to our users. And they love us for it. We have the highest audited Net Promoter Score (NPS) in the industry, a whopping 82 – that’s four times that of our largest competitors.

“Pure was ahead of the other company in terms of flash technology and its software. And the Pure Evergreen™ Storage program was a huge plus. But the primary differentiator for Pure was—and remains—the level of support they bring to our partnership.”

Bill Hudson, SVP and CIO, John Muir Health

We launched the Evergreen Storage program in 2015, but our track record goes back even farther. We designed our products to be upgradeable non-disruptively from the beginning and introduced the first included-controller upgrade in 2014. Every year since then, we’ve expanded and improved Evergreen Storage to include guarantees for satisfaction and effective capacity, Flat and Fair maintenance rates, and new trade-in programs. Over the past five years, we’ve delivered more than 3,200 controller upgrades non-disruptively and with full investment protection to users.

As industry analyst Eric Burgener puts it, “In IDC’s view, Pure Storage has been successfully differentiating themselves from their competitors for years through its ability to deliver a consistently positive CX [customer experience] that has reset customer expectations in the enterprise storage industry.”

IT agility. Peace of mind. A positive customer experience. Isn’t it time you expected more from your storage vendor?

Get more information about Pure’s Evergreen Storage and listen to the Pure Report podcast on The Evergreen Challenge.

  1. With Evergreen Gold subscription