Pure Storage FlashArray Review

A valuable feature is the data reduction capabilities but scalability could be improved

What is most valuable?

The features of this product that are most valuable include the data reduction capabilities. Being able to write and read data at incredibly high rates of speed and reduce the footprint of your data by three to four times at least is invaluable. Also the ability to clone and snapshot the data with little to no additional size impact. In the database world this function has quickly become a must have and not just a nice option.

How has it helped my organization?

The organization in which the product is deployed had many instances of the cache databases. There were instances in production, backup, test, development and others. There were then copies of copies. There were updates to databases and refreshes, as well as exports for reporting. There were more than 20 instances of the same data that existed in production. The space reduction and cloning capabilities alone resulted in major cost and administrative overhead reductions across the board. That doesn’t even account for the ability to reduce RPO/RTO to very low expected time frames.

What needs improvement?

The overall scalability for this product could be improved as well as having a single console to management multiple arrays. The scale is constantly being addressed as SSD drives get larger so will the overall capabilities of the arrays.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have used this solution for less than a year from POC to production deployment. [Pure Storage FA-420 and (2)FA450 array.]

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

There were no issues during the initial deployment of the array.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There have been no issues at all with stability. The only issue was on our side, procedurally - how we did our zoning needed to be modified. Instead of zoning in groups of hosts we needed to do individual zones for each host to the arrays separately. This had nothing to do with the array though.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

There have been no issues at this point. There has not been a need to scale yet, however the scale prior to deployment was more than sufficient.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Customer service has been outstanding. During the HA testing in the POC period we had people contacting us to verify that status of the array before we had completed the testing phase. They are thorough and capable.

Technical Support:

Implementation was flawless and any remote support they handled any questions we had with ease. There really haven’t been issues of any nature that required much technical savvy though.

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

We had not previously used an all flash array. We POC’d the next best competitor, but feature wise, overall system stability and space reduction numbers made it so that Pure was the clear leader.

How was the initial setup?

It took about an hour to get multiple arrays installed and deployed. They were incredibly easy to setup and even easier to get online and provision storage.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented through a vendor, but the manufacturer did the actual installation. There were no PS hours incurred for the installation from the vendor.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated through technology research: Whiptail, SolidFire, XtremIO and Pure Storage. Ultimately we POC’d XtremIO and Pure Storage.

What other advice do I have?

Definitely take the time to perform a POC. There are multiple players in this market right now that have good offerings and specific environments are very different. Also, don’t get sucked into the IO race. At the end of the day, the number of thousands of IO didn’t really have that much impact on our product, because minimum IO reqs were far below anything, any of the arrays advertise and produce. Also, just because an array can do a million IOPs doesn’t mean it is the right fit for your environment.

This storage has to be the most well thought out and effective storage that I have had the privilege to work with.

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

author avatarOrlee Gillis

What makes the storage-capabilities in Pure Storage unique to the alternative options?