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Pure Storage Global Partner Forum and Accelerate 2017, A Few More Things I Didn’t Already Know

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Earlier this month I attended the Pure Storage Global Partner Forum and Accelerate Conference in San Francisco.  As is typical at technology vendor conferences, Pure Storage made several announcements demonstrating the expanded capabilities of its products, establishing itself as a competitive threat to traditional Tier 1 heavy hitters.

In what was perhaps the most impactful capability announced during the conference, the latest version of the Purity Operating Environment, Purity//FA5, enables configuration and support of an active-active stretch cluster (Purity ActiveCluster), resulting in synchronous replication, delivering zero RPO and RTO, between arrays, data centers, or regions.  The ActiveCluster configuration is enabled on the PureStorage flash arrays in four simple steps, is monitored via a Pure1 Cloud Mediator, and costs... nothing.  Upgrading to Purity//FA5 means Purity ActiveCluster is immediately available without need of additional licenses or appliances.  This stretch-cluster functionality has previously been available on only a few vendors’ storage platforms, at considerable cost and effort.  Pure's ability to natively deliver this increased level of business continuity at no additional cost immediately elevates its suitability for hosting Tier 1 applications in environments with little or no tolerance for application downtime.

Additional capabilities strengthening FlashArray's claim to a Tier 1 position include expanded QoS capabilities, multiprotocol support, and support for future connectivity options.

Purity FA already supported QoS protection against noisy neighbors.  With the latest release, policy-based options permit classification based on performance classes (Bronze, Silver, Gold) and limits multi-tenant.

Windows File Services (WFS) for Purity FA supports SMB (v2/v3) and NFS (v3/v4) connectivity to provide storage for VDI user files, file sharing and home directories, using the customer’s own Microsoft license while enabling the file storage environment to take advantage of the performance, simplicity, data reduction, and data protection inherent in the FlashArray. 

WFS runs inside Purity//Run, an open platform providing customers the ability to use dedicated CPU and RAM to run virtual machines and containers within Purity.  Containers and virtual machines running in Purity//Run are completely isolated from the FlashArray, and do not affect the performance or availability of the array itself.  An early use case for Purity//Run is to run data analytics in close proximity to the data’s present storage location, arriving more quickly at actionable results.

FlashArray//X is Pure's next-generation highest-performance storage tier, powered by DirectFlash modules which enable NVMe performance greatly exceeding traditional SSD flash performance via elimination of the SCSI bottleneck and support for massive parallel processing.  FlashArray//X is built on NVMe, while FlashArray//M is non-disruptively (via the Evergreen storage program) upgradeable to NVMe.  Additionally, FlashArray//X supports NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe/F), and uses this technology to provide expansion through the addition of DirectFlash shelves connected via NVMe/F (RoCE v2), over a 50Gb/s Ethernet connection.  A single DirectFlash shelf, configured with 18.3TB DirectFlash modules, provides 512TB raw capacity, 1.5PB effective capacity (assuming 3:1 data reduction) in three rack units.

These are just a few of the latest developments that help position Pure’s FlashArray and Purity operating environment as a true Tier 1 storage solution.  It’s a good time to be orange.

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