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Pure Storage

Pure Storage, the all-flash enterprise storage company, enables the broad deployment of flash in the data center.

When compared to traditional disk-centric arrays, Pure Storage all-flash enterprise arrays are 10x faster and 10x more space and power efficient at a price point that is less than performance disk per gigabyte stored.
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Pure Storage logo - click for more info


The Pure Storage FlashArray is ideal for high performance workloads, including server virtualization, desktop virtualization (VDI), database (OLTP, real-time analytics) and cloud computing. For more information, visit www.purestorage.com.

see also:- Pure Storage - editor mentions on StorageSearch.com, Pure Storage's blog

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Editor:- July 28, 2014 - Pure Storage was ranked #11 in the Q2 2014 edition of the Top SSD Companies List which is researched and published by StorageSearch.com

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Editor's earlier comments:- October 2013 - Pure Storage - which is in the rackmount SSD market and was ranked #6 in the Top SSD Companies in Q3 2013 - could arguably be one of the fastest growing storage companies in history.

In my prophetic article - this way to the petabyte SSD (March 2010) - I talked about the characteristics and user value propositions of a new type of SSD system which would one day displace hard drives in enterprise SANs - in the last bastion of hard drives - bulk storage applications. We haven't got there yet. But ever since launching its first SSD arrays (in August 2011) - Pure Storage has been one of the leading companies demonstrating its focused commitment to the ROI, value propositions and associated business marketing which lead towards such a goal.

how fast can your SSD run backwards?
How will hard drives fare in an SSD world?
meet Ken and the enterprise SSD software event horizon

editor's (earlier) comments:- February 2013

Pure Storage operates in the fast-enough and bulk enterprise storage SSD market - and has received about $100 million of investment funding. ($245 million by September 2013).

The company markets an FC SAN compatible SSD storage array which superficially looks like a classic RAID system with removable MLC drives. However, the company says that its architecture has been designed from the ground up - with the aim of deliveringusable storage capacity at price points below that of enterprise HDD storage - while also being capable of offering moderately high performance IOPS and throughput.

The product does that by combining elements such as inline dedupe and compression - which is similar to what the market has already seen from earlier rackmount SSD vendors such as WhipTail Technologies and Nimbus Data Systems.

Pure Storage 's FlashArray is assembled from a series of 2U storage racks and controllers which provide a raw uncompressed MLC SSD storage density of just under 3TB per U - which is 3x lower than vanilla FC SAN MLC SSDs such as the RamSan-810 from Texas Memory Systems. Pure Storage 's array delivers about 6x lower IOPS per rack unit too.

So you may ask - where's the market?

At 50K IOPS / u - it's more than fast enough to outrun traditional hard disk arrays. And with a 10x virtual capacity reduction - Pure Storage claims its SSD arrays will cost less than HDD arrays - offering 25TB of compressed storage per U and at much lower power consumption too.

Pure Storage isn't the only SSD company which claims to beat HDD arrays costs today.

Recent newcomer Skyera - which emerged from stealth mode in August 2012 - packs 44TB of unified enterprise SSD storage into a single rack U - at the lowest price point in the industry,
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selected Pure Storage milestones - from SSD Market History.

In August 2011 - Pure Storage unveiled its first SSD product (an FC SAN compatible bulk storage SSD) and announced it had received $30 million in series C funding bringing its total capital funding up to $55 million.

In August 2012 - Pure Storage cranked up the heat on its funding to $95 million with a new $40 million Series D funding round.

In May 2013 - Pure Storage doubled the speed and density in its flash arrays with the launch of the FA-400 systems which include upto 24x 512GB SAS SSDs inside each 2U storage shelf. The company also announced an investment by In-Q-Tel (IQT) - a non profit ORG that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the US Intelligence Community.

In August 2013 - Pure Storage -announced that it has closed an oversubscribed $150 million Series E funding round with institutional investors which brings the company's total capital raise to $245 million.

In November 2013 - EMC launched a legal suit against Pure Storage alledging that former EMC personnel had taken with them detailed customer related market information. Pure Storage responded that the complaint was without merit.
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image for IBM rackmount article
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new products from Pure Storage, the significance of 38KB, and a door opens for future government business
Editor:- May 29, 2013 - Pure Storage today announced new models in it rackmount SSD family of non-disruptively upgradeable HA storage which double the performance of the 2U controllers to 400K 8K IOPS and provides 12TB of raw storage in 2U. In a related video the company said - the average size of I/O requests its customers see is 38KB - which is why Pure Storage has stopped using 4KB IOPS metrics in its sales literature.

Editor's comments:- The rack density of Pure Storage's new FA-400 systems (approx 10TB usable/ U for a 10U stack using a mix of 2U controller shelves which manage 2U storage racks which each have upto 24x 512GB SAS SSDs inside) is low by comparison to industry leaders.

From a business point of view this means their architecture may not be the first choice for customers looking for huge installations of SSD (scaling to hundreds of petabytes) or who have datacenters in expensive city locations where increasing the square footage of storage or server cabinet space is simply not an option - and for whom higher density (SSD TB/U) outweighs any hypothetical considerations such as lower cost per terabyte to buy.

The company says it has shipped hundreds of units.

How you interpret that will depend on your perspective. It's small by comparison to competitors which have been in the market longer - but also indicates that the product works and the company is capable of developing business in the difficult to reach smaller customers who were orphaned by the earlier stages of enterprise SSD adoption which focused more on SSD-CPU equivalency as the economic justification rather than simply displacing HDD arrays. Pure Storage's business model is the harder nut to crack - but is a bigger market opportunity - which has no clear leaders at the present time.

In another interesting announcement today Pure Storage today said it is receiving an investment from In-Q-Tel (IQT), the investment firm that identifies innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the US Intelligence Community. The partnership will allow Pure Storage to further develop its FlashArray technology to meet the unique needs of IQT's government customers.

This is just speculation on my part - but one of the big headaches for users with sensitive info on hard drives is the cost and secure logistics associated with disk sanitization when storage drives reach end of service life.

The only trustworthy way to deal with hard drives is to physically shred the drives into little pieces. SSDs present different challenges for this end of the data lifecycle - but also offer more technical solutions - such as built-in destructive fast-purge - but that adds to the cost of the drives. Within the context of an SSD rack - it should be possible to integrate reliable software based data shredding - which would save costs for customers who factor in these considerations.
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aligning database block sizes with SSDs
Editor:- February 5, 2013 - I often hear from readers designing software for SSDs who - having researched the subject of flash etc - have spent too much time over-worrying about internal SSD hardware details that they really shouldn't be worrying about. Because by the time they learn about such things - that type of hardware anxiety is ancient history.

Today I came across a recent blog by Chas. Dye at Pure Storage called Please DON'T Fiddle with Your Database Block Size! - which also warns about this very issue.

Chas says - "At Pure Storage, we believe that a factor that should never influence the block size decision is your storage subsystem."

Editor's comments:- I'd certainly agree that trying to slavishly make your data structures look like something you've read about which might be inside an SSD controller is probably a waste of time - because unless you know the SSD designer you don't really know what's going on - and the abstraction you read about in some web site is only a small part of the picture.

If an SSD is so sensitive to the data you hit it with - it's not the SSD you should have bought in the first place.
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SSDs and boats and planes
Editor:- October 11, 2012 - a recent blog by Pure Storage asks - what's the risk of over promising and under delivering with hybrid storage arrays?

When this blog talks about hybrids the meaning - in this context - is flash and HDD hybrid boxes - not flash and PCM or some other combination of faster and slower SSDs.

Among other things - the article says "...now imagine if you showed up to board your international flight, and they put you on a ship instead?" ...read the article

See also:- SSD ASAPs news (hybrid arrays. auto-tiering, caching etc.)
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Pure Storage announces $40 million funding
In August 2012 - Pure Storage cranked up the heat on its funding to $95 million with a new $40 million Series D funding round.

That's about $1 million of funding for each system shipped since the company emerged from stealth a year ago.

Toughest competitor - based on price - is Skyera - although Skyera will have to prove during the next few quarters that their recently launched technologies work in real world installations before they become a real headache.

Toughest competitors - based on impact of established market presence and reputation - are Texas Memory Systems, Violin, and Nimbus.
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Pure Storage says what you can do with those HDD arrays
Editor:- May 16, 2012 - Pure Storage today published a new video on YouTube which pokes fun at the idea of hanging onto hard drive arrays and suggests what you can do with them.

The 142 second video packs a lot of humor into its tour of why their way of doing dedupe with flash is cheaper and better. And it includes animals too.

The company also unveiled a new generation of fast-enough (100K write IOPS) HA/FT SSD arrays today - with upto 100TB compressed capacity - which are clustered around InfiniBand.
see the SSD video I'm not great fan of SSD videos - because they mostly waste time - but this one will be added to my favorites list later today - because it's amusing and speaks for the SSD industry. ...watch the video
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SSD articles here on StorageSearch.com

2.5" PCIe SSDs - How will the new concept impact existing markets?

the Business Case for SSD ASAPs - whether it's tiering or caching or both - these new SSD appliances find the data hot spots and give you the advantages of SSD acceleration as soon as possible.

what do enterprise SSD users want? - And what do SSD companies have to do in the next few years?

What makes this enterprise SSD different? - just 4 things really... (well - maybe 6)

adaptive flash care management IP (including DSP) for SSDs - what is it? and who does it?

how fast can your SSD run backwards? - Mysterious behavior in SSDs? - 11 core SSD asymmetries are often the root cause.

enterprise SSD market silos - 7 SSD types will satisfy all future enterprise needs.

where are we now with SSD software? - and how did we ever get into this mess?

Enterprise SSDs - the Survive and Thrive Guide - rules to help you get through an unruly market

exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs - the new math in enterprise flash arrays
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Unified Storage in the SSD Age
Editor:- October 31, 2014 - Unified Storage...

What does it really mean?

And is SAN + NAS really enough to qualify a rackmount flash system as being Unified Storage in the age of the SSD?

I don't think so.

And I got an interesting response when I said this last week to Skyera's CEO.
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SSD ad - click for more info
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Pure Storage's funding coffers fattened up to nearly $0.5 billion
Editor:- April 23, 2014 - Pure Storage today announced it had raised another $225 million in funding - bringing the total in all rounds to $470 million.

Editor's comments:- One of Pure Storage's many competitors - Nimbus - whose CEO has taken a different approach to funding (so far) - this week published an unflattering side by side features comparison between the 2 company's flagship rackmount SSDs.
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SSD ad - click for more info
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Pure Storage's rackmount SSD shipment mille-stone
Editor:- March 11, 2014 - Pure Storage today announced it has shipped over 1,000 of its Pure FlashArrays (fast enough rackmount SSDs).

Editor's comments:- in case you didn't get that "mille-stone" thing. "Mille" is an olde English prefix (from latin) meaning "thousand".

In enterprise flash array history context:- Pure Storage's shipments milestone is less signficant than IBM's 1,500 FlashSystem 840s (fast rackmount SSDs), but more significant than Tegile's 1,000 Zebi storage arrays (hybrids) - which we have also heard about in this quarter.
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Pure Storage launches maintenance program to allay user fears about flash array upgrade costs and obsolescenece
Editor:- February 6, 2014 - Pure Storage today announced a new business model for supporting its rackmount SSDs - the Forever Flash program - which the company says will provide users who have maintenance contracts better forward visibility of costs and upgrades.

Editor's comments:- One of the clever subliminal marketing messages here - when you get into the details - is the assumption that Pure Storage will still be in business in future years and still offering competitive SSD systems which you'd want to upgrade to.

But at the same time - Pure Storage - does also tackle head-on a key user fear which delays sales in this statement - "Flash storage changes completely every 6-9 months, so we built the FlashArray to allow for incremental expansion to take advantage of fast flash density and cost improvements."

See also:- playing the enterprise SSD box riddle game, the survivor's guide to enterprise SSDs
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"Even if you had all your perfectly baked enterprise SSD cake - with all the software trimmings which are still a year or so in the future - available right now in your restaurant and offered it to these people at that futuristically low price today - they wouldn't want to taste it" I said to Skyera's CEO Rado Danilak.

"They prefer other people to experiment with the new enterprise SSD chef in town. You just have to live with that.

"In another few years these same cautious types may be saying to everyone they know - don't you just love dining at Skyera?"
scary Skyera
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EMC really doesn't like Pure Storage
Editor:- November 6, 2013 - EMC is suing Pure Storage.

There's a good report on this in AllThingsD.com.

EMC's premise is that it can't understand how Pure could have been so successful in picking up EMC customers in any other way than by leveraging the detailed knowledge which former EMCers brought to Pure when they were recruited.

Pure's CEO - Scott Dietzen - tells the world what he thinks about EMC's move in a blog in which he says - "While I have no insight that would allow me to comment on EMC's motivation, I would say in general more mature companies risk forgetting the golden rule - they are happy to recruit great people to join their companies from competitors (indeed they aggressively solicit such hires), but then resort to onerous non-compete agreements and lawsuits to deter the same employees from exercising their freedom to seek employment elsewhere..."

Editor's comments:- I was talking to the founder of another enterprise SSD company earlier this year about something different - but as a part of that conversation he told me about how upset companies like EMC, HP etc really are about what they regard as SSD upstarts causing them huge business pain.

I can't remember the exact ratio he used - but the gist was that from the big incumbants' point of view - whenever they see an upstart SSD company get one million dollars of business say - that effectively loses the big company maybe five to ten million dollars of business which they believe they would have got if these SSD companies didn't exist.

For most of us - that big company viewpoint is ridiculous.

Because in the same way that any rational customer in the late 1980s was going to buy a PC instead of a minicomputer to do their wordprocessing, or in the early 1990s - a Unix based server from Sun etc to do their departmental database and email instead of a mainframe from DEC or IBM.... customers today know they can save tons of money and do more stuff by switching to new SSD companies for their server and storage needs.

The main thing slowing them down switching over to the SSD highway is the bewildering array of SSD route maps on offer. (Not all of which have pavement and gas stops.)

Knowing these self evident truths about technology transitions doesn't stop the pain for the big companies like EMC who feel like they have been coerced into playing a game - which they don't like or understand.

This legal move by EMC reminds me of another pivotal moment in SSD history - in April 2008 - Seagate fights SSD Market Challenge - with lawyers - instead of engineers - when Seagate hoped to crush STEC using the same tactics which had worked before with several inconvenient hard drive startups. That didn't work for Seagate in 2008. It couldn't wish the SATA SSDs away.

In 2014 - the rackmount SSDs and PCIe SSDs aren't going to disappear either.

You could argue that if EMC's proprietary knowledge of what do enterprise SSD users want? was such a valuable business asset - how is it that EMC itself didn't do a better job in the SSD market while the talent was still on the payroll?

Is LinkedIn going to be the next target for the SSD lawyers? - After all - that's where you can advertise what you know.

Or how about the storage conferences and trade shows? Are the stars from EMC going to be forced to present their papers anonymously - so they can't be grabbed by competitors?

One the other hand - if it wasn't for the lawyers - we wouldn't have all those great books to read by John Grisham. I'm currently rereading - A Time to Kill.
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another $150 million for Pure Storage
"the fastest growing storage company in history"
Editor:- August 29, 2013 - Pure Storage today -announced that it has closed an oversubscribed $150 million Series E funding round with institutional investors which brings the companys total capital raise to $245 million. The company has shipped hundreds of units of its FlashArrays (fast-enough rackmount SSDs) to a diverse global customer base and claims it's one of the fastest growing storage companies in the industrys history.

Editor's comments:- in 2001 I started an annual series which listed the fastest growing storage companies - based on revenue growth. I ended the series in 2007/8 when the credit crunch kicked in. But you can still see many of the archived articles.

In the last year of the series there were 3 storage companies which reported over 300% year on year revenue growth. Today Pure Storage is hinting that its year on year revenue growth is north of 400%.
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One of the most potentially most rewarding market challenges which SSD companies are grappling with right now is - how to make enterprise solid state storage attractive to users who aren't worried about their hard drive performance and don't even think they need SSDs.
exciting new directions in rackmount SSDs
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