Finding headings for blog posts is the worst part of my job, and I’m really bad at it, but this time I think I found something that clearly expresses my excitement.
Today Pure is announcing a new product called Flashblade. And it’s definitely a bold one, a new All-Flash storage system which is targeted to unstructured data workloads.
Today Pure is announcing a new product called Flashblade. And it’s definitely a bold one, a new All-Flash storage system which is targeted to unstructured data workloads: highly scalable, for files and objects, aimed at serving less latency-sensitive workloads, but still with a lot of IOPS and throughput and the promise of a price tag under $1/GB. Exactly the right product that can make the difference in a really crowded All-Flash array market!
Perfect timing (again!)
I don’t think I was alone in asking Pure for something more than FlashArray. And don’t get me wrong, FA is a very good product, one of the first that got it right when it was time to find the best formula between performance, price and usability. But it is not enough to realize the “all-flash Datacenter” vision that Pure has been telling us since the beginning… and to stand out in the crowd for a long time.
NAS consolidation, Big Data, IoT are the first use cases, and the number of possible applications will grow with the maturity of the product.
Now Pure is doing it again. The timing is perfect. For enterprise customers All-Flash storage for primary workloads is already the first choice and now, that they know the benefits, it is much easier to talk about Flash-based products with a lower $/GB and different characteristics. NAS consolidation, Big Data, IoT are the first use cases, and the number of possible applications will grow with the maturity of the product.
I’m writing this article before having all the technical details but what I saw during the pre-briefing is so cool.
Even though I’m not a fan of specialized hardware design, in this case I have to say that Pure did a great job under all engineering aspects.
Each single blade is a node of a scale-out shared-nothing cluster and it has its CPU, RAM, connectivity and 8 or 52 TB of NAND memory. The Flashbalde chassis can accommodate up to 15 blades and provides power as well as back-end and front-end Ethernet connectivity (40GB/sec). Slick design and, if I got it correctly, very few cables in the backend of the rack. The Operating System is new as well, but I’ll be able to fill you in more about it after the technical sessions planned during the Pure //Accelerate event, which I’m currently attending.
What I can already say is that NFS and S3 is the protocols supported at the moment of the launch, with others coming in future releases (we will likely see SMB3, HDFS and others in not a too distant future… but the roadmap hasn’t been disclosed). It looks like data protection has a fixed dual parity scheme at the moment and data positioning isn’t taking care of tray/rack affinity. It’s also true that I’m probably expecting far too much here, in fact the product will be initially supported in one or two tray configurations.
Closing the circle
It’s still the beginning, FlashBlade is at its first version and many technical details are still to be investigated. But what can’t be said is that PureStorage isn’t innovating here. This product is interesting (I would say even exciting) under many aspects and has a great potential, not for everyone of course, and not today… but it’s clearly raising the bar in the number of applications that could be served by an All-Flash storage system.
This product is interesting (I would say even exciting) and it’s clearly raising the bar in the number of applications that could be served by an All-Flash storage system.
I think others, Solidfire is the first that comes to my mind, could be following soon. And Tegile (with SanDisk InfiniFlash) already shows a good $/GB. But in the case of Flashblade we have scalability, price and efficiency. Only time will tell, but it definitely looks like Pure storage has found the right formula again!
Disclaimer: I was personally invited to attend Pure //Accelerate, with Pure Storage covering my travel and accommodation costs. However I was not compensated for my time. I am not required to blog on any content; blog posts are not edited or reviewed by Pure before publication.
If you want to know more about this topic, I’ll be presenting at next TECHunplugged conference in London on 12/5/16. A one day event focused on cloud computing and IT infrastructure with an innovative formula combines a group of independent, insightful and well-recognized bloggers with disruptive technology vendors and end users who manage rich technology environments. Join us!