Chalk up another wild year for the greater Puritan nation. Nearly 500 great people joined us, more than doubling Pure’s staff and expanding our team and partner ecosystem to cover more than 25 countries around the globe. Our customer base grew faster still (more on that below). We also launched FlashStack – an all-solid-state converged infrastructure in combination with Cisco and VMware.

Earlier last year, we were forecasting that we could expand the business by 2.5 times (~160%). Instead we grew annual revenues by more than 4 times (>300%) from ’13 to ’14!
Key to our growth is that storage is a land and expand business. For every $1 in storage sold by Pure, that customer will on average spend another $1.20 with us in the next 12 months. Happy customers buy more, and Pure’s customer satisfaction as measured by NetPromoter Score (NPS) trends 40-50 points higher than those of legacy storage vendors.

Consistently differentiating from and winning against the competition is essential to sustaining growth. Given the rival we see most often is EMC XtremIO, it’s relevant to compare our success to theirs. (Gartner sees things similarly, placing Pure and EMC adjacent to one another in the upper right hand quadrant.) We are thrilled that, over the last year, we maintained our ~70% competitive win rate in proof-of-concept face-offs versus EMC. And in the cases we lose, we often win the technical evaluation but then lose to politics and creative deal-making: bundling, maintenance forgiveness and freebies. Clearly, it is in your interest as a customer to evaluate both solutions.

Achieving such growth at scale places Pure in a very select group. We benchmark ourselves against the fastest growing systems companies in tech history (by “systems” we mean firms that sell software/hardware appliances to end users). Pure has been outpacing the inflation adjusted growth of some bellwether growth companies, including NetApp and Data Domain in storage, Cisco, Arista and Riverbed in networking, and FireEye and Palo Alto Networks in security.

Pure has grown faster than all of them. To be sure, we still have lots of work ahead, but we are hugely gratified by the mainstream adoption of Pure Storage to date.

Pure Infographic
Click to enlarge

We have talked about Pure’s initial success before, but we haven’t discussed the most interesting question: Where is all the momentum coming from? It turns out that Pure doesn’t just sell storage – we sell storage that delivers demonstrably compelling value to both IT departments and to the businesses they serve:

  • Storage with the performance to Transform Business: What can speed do for your business? The consumer tech experience has largely already moved to flash memory from mechanical disk – it’s the storage inside your mobile device as well as the predominant reason consumer websites like Google and Facebook perform so much faster than your business applications.Pure Storage defined the winning recipe for enterprise adoption of flash. Each Pure FlashArray eliminates more than one year of cumulative latency every month vs. a performance (oxymoron) disk array – that’s just the math for a typical workload on a Tier 1 hybrid array like an EMC VMAX versus all flash. What could your business do with a year of additional information systems productivity every month for each disk array in your data center?

    One Pure customer reduced its business suite reporting time from five days to five hours, delivering a daily inventory report before deadline for the first time in years, both saving money and enabling better decision making. Another customer optimized parts inventory across 50+ distribution centers, resulting in estimated savings of $4 million in just their first two months on Pure. Yet another now runs analytics batch processes on their 10+TB database in less than 24 hours rather than the seven days it used to take.

  • Storage that Simplifies and Reduces the Cost of IT: With security, mobility, SaaS and cloud initiatives, it is likely you don’t have much in the way of discretionary IT spend for faster storage. But what if the conversion from mechanical to solid-state storage dramatically simplified your IT environment, and even saved you money? Lots of money.

    For every 250TB Tier 1 disk array you convert to Pure Storage, we project you will save $500,000 and ½ storage administrator per year!

    Where do those savings come from? First, all-flash arrays consume 1/5 to 1/10 of the power, cooling and rack space of a disk array. Next, in designing Pure from scratch for solid-state, we were able to shed decades of accumulated complexity, delivering a management experience that’s more like looking after an iPhone than traditional storage (cutting service overhead substantially). But the biggest savings come out of not having to fork lift upgrade your storage every four or five years: With Pure’s more customer friendly Forever Flash, you get an evergreen storage array (free hardware upgrades) for perpetually flat to declining maintenance fees.

    Moreover, even bigger savings (not included in the $500,000) can come out of infrastructure consolidation: one customer cut their database licenses by more than 25% (a savings of some 200 licenses to date), consolidating servers and freeing up more than $15 million, all on a storage purchase of less than $500K! Transform your business while saving cash? Call this the end of the VMAX era and the rise of the all-flash array.

  • Storage that Accelerates the Journey to the Cloud: Looking forward, the opportunity for Pure will be more about shaping the next-generation of cloud and Web-scale data storage than replacing legacy disk arrays. Data centers are broadly implementing cloud models, borrowing the public cloud’s design tenets of lower cost, elastic scaling and easy programmatic administration. Pure has enjoyed strong adoption within modern cloud companies, like LinkedIn, Workday and ServiceNow.In fact, for our target workloads of databases and virtual machines, Pure Storage is generally lower cost (in that it requires 5-10X less flash) as well as higher performance than the hyper-converged approach of putting vanilla SSDs into servers. Most of all, Pure has innovated within the cloud to reduce the complexity of looking after your data center storage. Pure aggregates telemetrics from FlashArrays “phoning home” to proactively detect and predict problems, and suggest as well as implement (with your permission) remedies. Most calls from Pure support originate from Pure to you rather than vice versa. And the FlashArray is designed to perform all storage operations and upgrades non-disruptively as well as without any performance impact (another first for Pure Storage).

In hindsight, then, Pure’s incredible progress in 2014 is not so surprising. The Pure Storage value proposition uniquely combines vitamins (business transformation) with painkillers (cost savings) and future proofing (sea change to the cloud).

Let us close this annual recap with our profound thanks to those customers and partners that have embraced Pure. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we promise continued focus and improvement for you in the months and years ahead.