Pure Storage FlashArray Review

Easy to use and manage with a helpful mobile app

What is our primary use case?

We put the solution onto the VMware environment and all the Microsoft SQL servers. We do the synchronization between two data centers, so that is has a very low latency. We just have a few milliseconds of latency which is a ready performance, and near perfect. 

What is most valuable?

If I compare it to SAN Symphony, for instance, it's much faster, much reliable level. 

The maintenance is very good. The support is very, very good. If you do any maintenance on it you have the support, and it's nice to know they are there to assist.

It's a very good product. It's very easy to manage everything.

With a snapshot, you can schedule it and you can remove it afterward. You can do a kind of production cope. That's very, very good now, and it's performing very well. The storage is amazing. It's so fast.

The total reduction you can expect is excellent. You buy the bundle storage and they give you a ratio of what you can achieve within it.

The mobile app is very helpful. I have an application on my smartphone. I view the latency in real-time on my app. You can see everything on your smartphone. You can also set up alerts on it, and things like this. I don't think you can do this on Dell storage. 

What needs improvement?

The solution is not cheap. It's much more expensive than DataCore. It costs much more. 

The improvement I would expect from them is maybe more if there is integration with VMware. We are also using Amazon Cloud to provision snapshots or to move or to copy snapshots to Amazon. I would expect more integration within Amazon. Amazon has tree storage or last tier so we have that as an option instead of keeping it in Pure Storage as it costs a lot of money. If they offered a hybrid cloud, for example, it would be very helpful.

The solution needs to ensure they have good integration with VVol. VVol is the future of VMware. I have spoken with Pure Storage engineers and they have an integration with vVol. They have a kind of plug-in for VMware to work with VVol, however, it's not mature enough. It's my understanding they're working on it to get it done on that side. More integration with the Windows Server for snapshots would also be helpful. 

One year ago I found that instead of having the new Pure Storage FlashArray on-prem, you can have it in Tokyo or you can have it in Virginia - it depends where you are. You can just pay a certain amount per minute and you can have a Pure Storage that you manage from your prem, but have it on Amazon. That may be in production. It will be a useful attribute.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution since 2019 and therefore it's not so long. It's a little bit more than one year - nearly two years now as we have started in August, 2019. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

5.3 is the latest stable version. They have a version 6 now, and 6.1 is in production, however, it's not as stable as the 5.3. We are running to the latest best stable version.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Previously, you were not able to scale the snapshot. You had to do it manually.

For a flash array of 11 terabytes that you buy in a bundle, you can provision for 44 terabytes. We still have six terabytes free. We can come to a ratio of four on full storage. You can optimize four times what they give to you. They give you a ratio from three to four. It depends on the application you have running. Not everything is taken on the storage. 

If you would like to expand, you can always just buy more storage disks. We will have to get a new license in two years and we might increase our usage then. For the moment, we have enough space.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been very helpful throughout the process. They can assist during the setup process. They make everything very easy.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We also use the Dell EMC Storage Suite.

This solution is easier than what we've used in the past.

How was the initial setup?

For me, in terms of setup, the process much easier than Symphony, for example. Before, we had DataCore and Symphony. With this product, it was easier to do the zoning on the fiber channel side. On the network side, it was easier. Everything it's much easier than other products if I compare it to Dell or to DataCore and Symphony.

The maintenance, if you have to upgrade the firmware or the version, is very convenient. The support is good also. And they are working now to integrate more in Amazon which will be helpful for us.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

While it is my understanding that the solution is a bit expensive from a financial point of view, I don't know the exact costs.

The price, in general, is around $100,000, however, I know it costs more. I don't have the details anymore. I know it was much more than HP 3PAR and Dell Storage Center or DataCore. 

We have a five-year contract. We would need to renew it in two years or so.

What other advice do I have?

We are just a customer and end-user.

With Pure Storage, you have two versions. You have the Pure Storage version 50 and version 10. 50 is a little bit bigger than version 10. With FlashArray M50, it's an X50R2, it's full flash. 

We have the product currently on-premises, however, we would be more open maybe to Amazon or some other cloud. 

I would suggest new organizations go with the product, even though it is new. Some companies are scared of new products. It's more mature in the United States. However, it's working well for us here in Europe. Even if it costs a little bit more, you do get more for what you pay. We've chosen the most expensive option, however, we have no regrets in that sense. It's been worth it. 

Overall, I would rate the solution at a nine out of ten. It's very easy to manage and works very well. The maintenance is also excellent. I'd recommend the solution. You don't have to do anything on the FlashArray. You don't have to deal with tier levels, or build and optimize something. Everything is done from the Pure Storage side. You're just using it, and that's it.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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