As the transition from legacy performance disk to All Flash Arrays is taking place, it’s an opportune time for vendors to not only deliver better storage products, but also a better overall customer experience – one that seeks to put the customer first and gets rid of traditional big storage practices. At Pure Storage, we focus a lot of effort not only on building better storage technology, but also on building a better storage company. And, to date we’ve done some pretty innovative stuff:
- Offered the industry’s broadest guarantee that you’ll love our products
- Ended software nickel-and-diming by making our software all-inclusive with the base hardware purchase
- Built a storage platform that requires no expensive training or professional services
- Invested in dedicated, highly trained support staff and unique technology to deliver the most proactive customer support experience possible
- Offered a new business model – Forever Flash – that is available with every FlashArray purchase to avoid “maintenance extortion” and extend storage lifecycle. More on this later.
Within a short timespan, Pure’s innovative approaches have made a tremendous impact on customers and the storage industry as a whole. Over the past few months, EMC and HP have made business program announcements of their own: The EMC XPECT MORE Program and HP 3PAR Get 6-Nines Guarantee respectively. Overall, we view this as a great move for the industry. And, it’s hugely gratifying to see Pure’s focus on building a better storage company push EMC and HP to up their game in driving business model innovation. However, as too often is the case, just because two things sound alike doesn’t mean they are alike. Let’s look at how the EMC and HP 3PAR programs stack up to Pure Storage Forever Flash.
In Part 1 of this post, we’ll cover the EMC XPECT MORE Program and follow up with Part 2 on HP 3PAR 6-Nines Guarantee.
EMC XPECT MORE PROGRAM
The EMC XPECT MORE Program has the following key parts:
- 7-year Maintenance Price Protection: By pre-purchasing 3 years of EMC’s Premium Support services for EMC’s XtremIO product, customers can renew Premium Support Services for the same annual fee for an additional 4 years.
- 3-year Money Back Warranty: For 3 years from the initial purchase date and for as long as a valid support contract is maintained, EMC will repair, replace, or refund a prorated amount of defective product.
- 7-year Flash Endurance Protection: Customers can get a proactive SSD replacement if the endurance remaining is less than 5% as determined by EMC within 7 years after initial purchase of XtremIO product, provided that the XtremIO product has not reached its end of service life as determined by EMC.
- Eligibility is limited to new XtremIO purchases between July 1 and December 31, 2014.
You can read the details in the EMC XPECT MORE PROGRAM Supplemental Terms and Conditions here.
XPECT MORE PROGRAM ANALYSIS
We liked the general premise of the program, as it signaled that EMC may be changing its business practices (for example to reduce what we call Maintenance Extortion – a Big Storage practice of pricing maintenance in such a way that rates start low but are increased substantially when customers come back to renew their “out year” maintenance).
But, we’re puzzled as to why the XPECT MORE PROGRAM is so limited. Here’s several areas where we #XpectedMore from EMC:
- Why limit the XPECT MORE PROGRAM to Customers who enroll in the program between July 1 and December 31, 2014? What about the customers who purchased XtremIO array pre-July 2014? What about the customers who will purchase after December 2014? Customers should ask EMC.
- Why limit 7-year maintenance price protection to XtremIO arrays only? If EMC is sincere about stopping Maintenance Extortion, then why not extend this offer to other EMC storage products such as EMC VMAX and VNX? Customers should ask EMC.
- Why limit the XPECT MORE PROGRAM only to Customers who purchase directly from EMC? Are Customers who purchase indirectly through Channel less important than those who purchase directly from EMC? Customers should ask EMC.
- Why is 3-year “money back” warranty not just the standard warranty? The 3-year “money back” warranty provides EMC the option to repair or replace a defective XtremIO product, and if EMC is unable to effect such within a reasonable time, then EMC will refund a prorated portion of the defective product, but here’s the catch… only if the XtremIO array was purchased between July 1and December 31, 2014. Why isn’t this just a standard product warranty? What will be the XtremIO product warranty after December 31, 2014? Customers should ask EMC.
- Why is the 7-year maintenance price lock-in a temporary offer only and not the standard practice? It’s unclear from what information is available online.Customers should ask EMC.
- What about extending the useful life of an XtremIO array by non-disruptively upgrading the controllers on the array to next-gen controllers? Maintenance price protection removes one unfair practice, but what happens when a customer needs to purchase or upgrade an array? – Resource intensive forklift upgrades tend to follow. Storage platforms designed around rigid hardware constraints have limited abilities to be upgraded non-disruptively. When a customer runs out of performance or capacity, their hand is forced. Customers should ask EMC.
Comparing Pure Storage Forever Flash with EMC XPECT MORE Program
Here’s a summary comparison of Pure Storage vs. EMC XPECT MORE Program:
Customers should be asking EMC why the benefits of XPECT MORE Program are temporary and NOT the standard way of doing business across ALL EMC storage products. After all, if EMC is genuinely invested in offering a competitive warranty and SSD replacement coverage, and ending Big Storage practice of Maintenance Extortion, why limit to XtremIO and why place an arbitrary time limit for eligibility?
With the Pure Storage FlashArray, every customer receives a competitive 3 Year hardware warranty and SSD replacement coverage (including wear) remains in place for as long as any Pure support contract is in place, even if it is well beyond 7 years from time of initial purchase of FlashArray.
Similarly, Forever Flash is available with every FlashArray purchase – no time limit for eligibility. Customers can reset their maintenance at the then-current rates on the entire array at the time of an upgrade to their FlashArray with Fresh Every Upgrade and/or extend the array lifecycle with an upgrade to new controllers with Free Every Three.
Forever Flash is enabled by Pure’s advanced hardware architecture: Stateless, upgradable controllers; Expandable storage; Non-disruptive everything – all without downtime, performance loss, or planned outages.
Hopefully, that gives you a taste for the EMC XPECT MORE Program and how it compares with Forever Flash (and Pure Storage overall). We hope customers will take the time to learn more about Forever Flash: read the data sheet, download the independent brief from Enterprise Storage Group, or drop us a line and we’ll be happy to show you how much FlashArray with Forever Flash can save you over EMC XtremIO with XPECT MORE Program.
Interested in reading our analysis of the HP 3PAR Six Nines Guarantee? Read Part 2