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Top Takeaways from Pure //Accelerate 2019

Our storage experts recently attended the Pure //Accelerate 2019 conference in Austin, Texas. From the latest in FlashArray to artificial intelligence, here's what you should know.

October 1, 2019

There’s no question that Pure Storage painted Austin bright orange the third week of September 2019, and you can bet we were there to catch the action. Our team listened to the latest tech announcements, sat in on industry panels, and even won an “Innovation Partner of the Year” award for the work we're doing in the WWT Advanced Technology Center (ATC).

It’s hard to believe the Pure Storage Accelerate conference has existed for five years now, and that Pure Storage is a decade old! The conference continues to improve each year, and 2019 was no different. The conference was top notch and a reflection of where Pure is in the industry. There was no shortage of breakout sessions and opportunities for training and certification. The keynotes were fantastic and the technology announcements will set the table for Pure for the next decade.

Let’s dive in

Pure Storage CEO Charlie Giancarlo kicked off with a recap of the first ten years of Pure and how Pure plans to attack the next ten years – a major focus being “A Modern Data Experience.” He announced the following three-prong approach to address this focus:

  • Simple - API-defined storage services, common management tools and actionable analytics.
  • Seamless - Storage services that can handle any protocol, any tier and multiple clouds in a single environment.
  • Sustainable - Customers buy only what they need, when they need it and can upgrade to the latest innovation without pain or penalty.

Additional members of Pure's leadership team spoke about the past, present and future of FlashArray, and where Pure is heading in the Flash Storage industry. Artificial Intelligence was a major focus for the FlashBlade Business unit along with a modern data protection plan for customers.

Drumroll …  and on to the technology

Announcing FlashArray //C

This new midrange storage offering is now GA. Pure has engineered QLC Flash into FlashArray //C (‘C’ stands for Capacity Optimized). This includes up to 5.2PBe in 6RU with the 18TB DirectFlash Modules.

FlashArray //C will open a completely new Total Addressable Market (TAM) for Pure in the midrange storage space. Today, this is a block-only array with file coming in 2020. WWT is working with the FlashArray Business Unit to bring this system into our ATC for testing and customer demos.

Oftentimes, we encounter customers struggling with the cost of flash for non-critical workloads when the performance of flash may not be necessary. This solution from Pure Storage will give customers many of the sought-after features of a FlashArray, but without the premium. This array, which includes consistent performance for email, lower-tier VMware workloads, disaster recovery targets, test and development, will help customers with hybrid arrays modernize their data centers. That’s a modern data experience!

Pure as a Service, formerly known as Evergreen Storage Service (ES2)

Essentially, this is a rebranding of ES2 and expanded as Pure as a Service. WWT can help customers interested in OPEX in a number of ways. As Pure’s OEM solution, Pure as a Service gives customers the choice of both CAPEX and OPEX business models for block, file and object with the flexibility of one subscription that allows for on-prem, in the cloud or a combination of both.

Pure Cloud Block Store (PCBS) for AWS

A Purity 5.3 instance is currently running in AWS with Azure and GCP to follow. WWT has this solution running in our AWS East Region – Storage VPC. Look for a new lab coming soon.

PCBS is Pure’s operating environment “Purity” running in AWS with a unique, highly available architecture that combines Amazon’s EC2, EBS and S3 in the construct. Purity CloudSnap can be used to restore on-prem data from S3 to re-hydrate on PCBS for DR testing, Dev/Test and many other use cases. WWT is working on several cost analysis initiatives and tech use cases for this product. Explore the lab in our Cloud Data Management Services practice.

Purity CloudSnap

This technology allows FlashArray snapshots to be sent to an S3 target from both FlashArray //X or //C. This has been GA for a few months for sending Purity snapshot data to AWS S3. It’s important to understand how this can help customers move data to the public cloud and rehydrate on an instance of PCBS for cloud restore use cases. Come test this in our ATC!

Pure Storage EncryptReduce

The end-to-end host to array-based encryption mechanism allows Pure to run its data reduction algorithms while encryption has been enabled from the host to the array. Currently, Pure Storage EncryptReduce only supports Linux (bare metal or virtual machine). Thales Vormetric appliance and host software is needed.

Pure Storage DirectMemory

This is Storage Class Memory for FlashArray //X70R2 and X90R2 – Intel Optane layer of Read Caching. Pure was very clear that it will be exploring the workloads and telemetry data reported from Pure1 to understand how customers would benefit from adding SCM to their array. This is GA today and added as a “module” to an existing array. It can be purchased as a four- or eight-module configuration. Through the ATC, we soon will be able to show how NVMeoF with SCM can increase performance.

  • Read latency performance enhancement.
  • Comes in 3TB or 6TB.
  • Benefit: Plugs into existing //X70 or //X90 for an immediate performance boost for high-read arrays.
  • Makes server tier more efficient, which could result in customers needing less DRAM, less licensing, fewer servers, etc.

Pure FlashBlade for AI announcement

WWT’s AI team was in attendance and we were excited to hear about Purity FlashBlade. The Flashblade hardware platform can now expand to 150 blades (ten full chassis in the same cluster with advanced XFM modules). In other words, this is an AI monster.

High-level roadmap

Pure1 VM Analytics PRO edition

This is an extension of Pure1 VM Analytics. Highlights include:

  • VM anomaly detection.
  • VM and Network Best Practice Configuration Enforcement.
  • Latency troubleshooting.
  • Available on AWS Marketplace.
  • Adds extended data retention for three years over the standard seven days.
  • Additional enhanced functionality will continue to be released.

File Integration into FlashArray

This will give Pure Storage a True Unified platform. It is expected to release in 2020. Coupled with the Launch of FlashArray //C, this will give the Pure portfolio parity with many of the other OEM’s that WWT sees in the primary storage industry.

Other notable items:

  • Gemalto integration into EncryptReduce.
  • Azure Support for all Cloud Initiatives.
  • GCP Support for Cloud Initiatives.

If you have any questions about these announcements, connect with me. Our experts are happy to discuss these solutions further, participate in an executive briefing or help you schedule time to test these solutions for yourself in the ATC.