This article originally appeared in 2017. Get the latest on the Evergreen Portfolio.

The data storage industry has always been competitive, and ever more so since Pure introduced all-flash storage coupled with a SaaS-like ownership experience that helps customers avoid generational re-buys and data migrations standard in the industry. Talk about a threat to the establishment!

And so we are not surprised to see that Dell EMC is aggressively publishing misinformation about what we do – in all aspects of our products and services but particularly regarding our Evergreen™ Storage model and subscriptions. In this blog, we’ll give you the real facts to help you weed out the FUD in the market. And we’ll directly answer Dell EMC’s questions while we’re at it.

Let’s look at the market context that we think is driving their behavior. Fundamentally, we’re having a blast and taking the market by storm:

Here’s some more context, and also a simple litmus test for the difference between Pure Storage and our competition. If you read nothing else in this blog – read this:

If any storage, new or old, requires a data migration and/or planned downtime at any time whether within the product family or across generations then it is legacy storage and it has no place in a modern data center or private cloud.

The exploding growth of data means data gravity is real and it’s here now. Legacy storage will not only keep you from operating in the cloud model and getting the consistent performance, agility, and availability you need, but it will hold your data hostage and keep you from harnessing its value during lengthy migrations and maintenance windows.

Pure Storage has completely eliminated these data migrations and associated lifecycle re-purchases and management – while keeping you modern. The last data migration our customers do is onto Pure Storage, and from then on their data stays in place. With Pure there is no planned downtime required, and our arrays upgrade around your data. We’ve adopted the same disaggregated architecture used by the hyperscalers, and solved the most difficult and most important layer of that architecture – the storage. And we’re bringing it to everyone. Going further, we built on that storage layer to provide a full-stack data platform (FlashStack) that lets you independently, and effortlessly, scale your data, your compute, your networking, your VMs and so on. All wrapped with easy automation and management so you can focus on your apps and your analytics.

Now let’s get into Evergreen Storage. We’re a very transparent company and so we publicly post the terms and conditions for all of our programs and agreements. Just as with the public cloud, we want you to really know what you’re getting up-front. Wouldn’t it be great if every other vendor did that too? One of the great things about Pure is that we *want* everyone to know the real facts about us, because they are *good* for our customers, our partners, and for us. What we’re doing is absolutely real and our customers find it refreshingly different from the rest of industry. Such transparency means competition can (and often does) ask questions about our Evergreen Storage model and twist what we say, and so we occasionally need to jump in to clear things up.

Now for the detail: here’s a 12 question FAQ with the straight goods on Evergreen Storage. We broke it into two parts, so here goes Part 1:

Evergreen Storage Overview

Q1: What is the point of Evergreen Storage?

A: To make owning storage as close to experiencing storage-as-a-service as possible – but in your data center. Why? Because legacy storage is far and away the biggest barrier to transforming your data center into a true private cloud to harness the power of your data. We’ve modernized storage and eliminated the legacy lifecycle management so you can focus on more strategic goals like analytics, AI and ML, orchestration, and DevOps. Now your storage stays modern indefinitely (as long as you maintain your subscription), your storage services don’t stop or slow down, and your data stays in place. With Pure, you’ll “never-worry” about your data migrations – because you won’t have any! All of our array software (not just “select software”) is *included* (even Active Cluster) and upgradeable non-disruptively – like a service should be. The Evergreen Storage model gives you storage that just works – regardless how it is being used, whether for tier 1 business applications, real-time analytics, or developers building your Next Big Thing. And incredibly, with our Evergreen Gold subscription, you can avoid re-buying your storage (media, controllers, and software) repeatedly over time, even as your array modernizes – saving you money!

Q2: Does your Evergreen storage model cost more than the competition?

A: No, our Evergreen Gold customers typically save over 50% (yes, you read that right) on average compared to competition, measured over 6 years. Our savings are somewhat less for mid-range storage (say, compared to VNX/Unity), and somewhat more for tier 1 storage (say, compared to VMAX). The savings mainly come from eliminating storage (and software) re-buys and data migrations which typically happen for the competition in years 3-5 (but not for Pure), and some comes from power/cooling/footprint/management savings given our uniquely simple and efficient footprint. And keep in mind, all Evergreen Subscriptions include Pure’s white-glove maintenance and support, yet Evergreen Gold typically costs only slightly more than competitors’ standard maintenance and support offerings.

Q3: Do both Evergreen Silver and Gold allow me to avoid storage re-buys?

A: Evergreen Gold completely avoids re-buys while Evergreen Silver partially avoids re-buys, which is why Evergreen Gold is our standard (and most popular) subscription. Only Evergreen Gold includes the ongoing hardware modernization components of Evergreen: Free Every Three, Upgrade Flex, and Capacity Consolidation. Both subscriptions avoid data migrations and forklift upgrades. Evergreen Silver exists for those who want to purchase à-la-carte and minimize their initial acquisition costs, while Evergreen Gold significantly reduces the ongoing lifecycle and ownership costs (which are the costs that matter the most, to most customers). For the vast majority of buyers, Evergreen Gold is easier and more cost-effective.

Q4: Can’t other incumbent vendors just copy Evergreen storage too?

A: No they can’t, at least not without a vastly different technology platform, re-architected from scratch. Evergreen Storage is far more than just a pricing structure. Pure’s Evergreen storage model starts with our products which are uniquely designed to be 100% upgradable, in the field, with data-in-place, and without stopping or even slowing down – across generations. This has never been done before and is what makes the rest of the model possible. And we’ve proved it works reliably over the 6 years we’ve been shipping our products. We built our company top to bottom around this model – and that can’t be done after-the-fact (see Q5). The other big barrier for incumbent competition is their legacy business structure, which is built around recurring revenue from storage re-buys and professional services related to data migrations.

That’s pretty much it – and you can see why our competitors apparently feel so threatened. But the details matter too, so now let’s double-click into our Free Every Three, Upgrade Flex, and Capacity Consolidation programs, which work together within Evergreen Gold to modernize your storage over time. Or just give us a call and we’ll walk through how Evergreen will work in your specific environment, as well as how we’ve already helped many customers like you.

Evergreen Storage: Free Every Three

Q5: Do I really need to pay for six years of Evergreen Gold to receive the included controllers? The first three years to be eligible, and then I can get the new controllers when I renew for another three years?

A: Yes. Six years of paid Evergreen Gold subscription funds the first set of included controllers. Nine years funds the second set, twelve years the 3rd set and so on – generation after generation. To be clear, Evergreen Gold only subsidizes the purchase price of those new controllers, and costs less than purchasing them standalone. Pure absorbs the difference. Otherwise it would just be a pre-paid program! And our subscriptions also include white-glove maintenance and support and so much more, much better than industry standard support and warranty programs. Per Q2, you’ll truly save money. You’re probably wondering “how on earth is this possible?” The reason we can afford this is due to the many top-to-bottom efficiencies we get from having our customers on our newer products, from higher customer satisfaction (happy customers buy more), and so on. Putting it simply, we built a different kind of company to make this all affordable for us – and for you. Lastly, that same affordable Evergreen Gold subscription also helps fund your ability to use Upgrade Flex and Capacity Consolidation as you expand, giving you tons of flexibility to modernize as often as you like.

Q6: What will it really cost me (over six years of a Gold Subscription) to get the free controllers?

A: Simple – at most 2X the cost of your initial 3-year Evergreen Gold subscription, which is significantly less than re-buying your storage all over again and taking on the complexity, risk, and delay of migrations. Even better, if we reduced the subscription cost for your in-rack configuration before your renewal comes due you’ll only pay that new lower cost (that’s our Flat & Fair program at work). Keep in mind Q2 above: all-in, Evergreen Gold drives a ton of cost out of your storage environment, all while giving you a much better storage experience.

Q7: How much am I really saving versus just buying new controllers at a negotiated discount?

A: A lot! See Q3. Evergreen Silver is available for those who want to buy their own controllers, but Evergreen Gold is much more cost effective. Keep in mind Evergreen Gold is designed to work holistically across the entire system from controllers, media, software, and cloud-connected support and services – ensuring you’ll get a better deal and true SaaS-like simplicity at the same time. All that said, per Q2 *both* Evergreen Gold and Evergreen Silver will save you a *lot* of money compared to alternatives. You win either way.

So far so good? Now check out Part 2 where we dive into how Upgrade Flex and Capacity Consolidation help customers who are aggressively expanding their capacity.