Forklift Upgrades. For IT folks everywhere these two words conjure up a raft of negative images and emotions. And it can all be summarized as tremendous risk, expense, and waste that keeps IT budgets focused on running infrastructure instead of innovating and building for ever greater competitiveness. In a recent post (and satirical video) we explored the pain that forklift upgrades represent. We also issued a call to action – Say No to Never Ending Forklift Upgrades.

Of course, this is easier said than done since the entire storage industry is built around the forklift upgrade ownership model. Certain storage businesses have been built to extract money from customers every few years, and customers’ finance departments are conditioned to budget for and depreciate storage assets on short timescales knowing those assets have a short useful life.

Evergreen Storage LogoWe posed an intriguing question: What if there was a better way?

Fortunately, there is a better way – a much better way in fact. Today we are announcing a new model for storage: Evergreen Storage. And it revolutionizes how customers like you get value from storage. We believe that over time it will also revolutionize how the entire storage industry works. Why? Because once you’ve experienced Evergreen Storage we believe you’ll never want to own any other kind.

What if Your Storage Was Evergreen?

What if you could deploy storage once and then upgrade it in place over time as needed whether for capacity, density, performance or features, all without any downtime or performance impact and without having to migrate your data? And what if you could keep doing this for a decade or more?

Well, then you would have eliminated forklift upgrades.
And you would have freed up all of that wasted time, money and resources spent on running legacy infrastructure and put it to more strategic use – namely, innovating to drive your organization’s mission. Last but not least, you would likely find yourself loving your storage because, for the first time, it provides a powerful boost to critical business and IT initiatives. This is what the Evergreen Storage model does at a fundamental level.

Evergreen Storage Defined

The Evergreen Storage model is built on three key capabilities, all of which are unique to Pure.

First and foremost, for anything to be truly evergreen it needs to be able to constantly evolve. To achieve this Pure has delivered an architecture that is designed from the ground up to withstand the vagaries of fickle HW components. The architecture is defined by software, and is modular, stateless, scalable, field serviceable and field upgradable. This ensures that the array grows and evolves with your needs, without any excess baggage. No need to purchase and deploy more performance if all you need is more capacity. No need to purchase more capacity if all you need is more performance.

This architecture supports independent upgrades of all 5 core array capabilities – all without trade-offs or gotchas. We call this “5 degrees of freedom” – because it gives you the freedom to upgrade whatever you need, whenever it best suits you.

Second, an evergreen array needs to be able to stay modern and leverage industry innovation in CPU and flash – in other words, to put Moore’s law to work to drive your competitiveness.

To achieve this, all Pure Storage arrays not only can be upgraded in-place without downtime or performance disruption, but also without expensive and time consuming planning, coordination, and bolt-on tooling to make it happen. It’s all built-in.

Of course, minimizing acquisition costs is also important and Pure helps customers in two important ways:

  1. All software is included with your hardware purchase. And that includes upgrades to the software for customers on maintenance and support.
  2. New Upgrade Flex bundles give you credit for your existing controllers to apply toward the purchase of new ones when you purchase your next qualifying capacity upgrade, ensuring your existing array investment isn’t left behind.

Combined, this means you get to minimize your CAPEX spending even while expanding and modernizing your storage every year, with no need to re-purchase what you already bought.

The third and final key capability is an OPEX maintenance model that supports and promotes this seamless evolution and modernization. We have always maintained that FlashArray is not simply a point in time storage array product; it is a storage platform. Simply put, platforms outlast products.

Forever Flash™ ensures that customers who buy into the FlashArray platform are routinely modernized with the latest and greatest software technology from our product engineering team for no additional cost – all they need to do is stay current on maintenance and support. And for those customers who have been on maintenance and support for 3 years and then renew for 3 years, Pure will upgrade their array controllers, ensuring that their FlashArray stays modern and up to date.

With Forever Flash™ you continually get new innovation, performance and scale to transform your IT and your business. And because your controllers stay modern you’ll also eliminate issues and costs associated with aging components, resulting in a best-in-class ownership experience.

Not only does Forever Flash and the Evergreen Storage model create tremendous value for customers like you, it also creates tremendous value for Pure. By helping keep our customers on a consistent code base and similar infrastructure we make it easier for Pure to support them. So it’s in our best interest to help our customers stay collectively modern. Talk about an ownership win-win – not something you typically see or expect from any other storage vendor or for that matter any other IT infrastructure vendor.

Evergreen Storage is Here

From our very first FlashArray FA-310 to our brand new FlashArray//m, our customers have been benefiting from features that ultimately make up our Evergreen Storage model. And with our new FlashArray//m release we have added even more business model innovation to help customers old and new accelerate to FlashArray//m – but that is a topic for an upcoming post.

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