Pure Storage FlashArray Review

There are no bugs, it just works and it's stable


What is our primary use case?

We make use of the solution primarily for storage and DR replication.

We use the most recent stable version, as the latest one is still in a beta stage and too new to be employed.

What is most valuable?

V-Vault is pretty new and its implementation is superior to that offered by nearly any vendor. It's easier to configure than most others and to import the V-Vault. A separate working machine is not required. 

What needs improvement?

I can't think of too many features that need improvement. There are no bugs, it just works and it's stable. The graphical interface is perfect and really simple. Someone who understands storage can figure it out within a couple of minutes. There are really no drawbacks.

The only minor issues that come to mind are that, every once in a while, a hard drive will go bad. Also, the solution should be cheaper.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for the past 10 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable. It's superb. We've done upgrades in which multiple controllers were involved and, while changing from one model of the array to another, a single controller was removed. It is swapped out and a new one introduced. Once it's stable they proceed to the next one. We have never experienced an outage in any of the three companies in which I've employed the solution. Even when the controller went down, the arrays remained up.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support has been amazing. I have yet to meet or talk to anyone who is not super knowledgeable. The only time I entertained any doubts, whatsoever, is when V-Vaults first came out. Certain people were not very familiar with it, but this was short lived. As we were extremely early adopters of V-Vault, training was provided fairly quickly. While the general tech support was not up to snuff, within a month or two they were all trained. Since then, there have been no issues to report. 

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

In this company we used an IBM V 7000 and in a previous one, an EMC VMAX.

When comparing the solution to an EMC array or an IBM B7000, both of which I've used, Pure Storage FlashArray is light years ahead of everybody else. I've used a variety of these solutions and many of them are very complicated. 

How was the initial setup?

Only two weeks ago we set up a new solution in a new location that we're building. It's pretty straightforward. There are certain internal matters that only the vendor can handle. But, that's fairly common with most good storage arrays. Besides this, it's really easy. The vendor is really simple to work with. One need only provide him with a list of the IP's he uses for management and replication. 

I did not do the initial storage myself, as I'm in Chicago and it is handled in Omaha, Nebraska. I did have to coordinate everything, however. We were sent a form to fill out with the name and IP use. At this point, the arrival of a technician is scheduled, who asks where the rack should be placed. At this point, it is racked, cabled up and all the initial IP configurations are introduced. This is the point at which the person can take over and start carving out the ones he wants or creating the V-Vault, should he so desire. The process is really simple.

The technician's visit lasted an hour-and-a-half. I've been doing this for a long time. So, perhaps, it took me another hour to configure everything, although the level of involvement can play a factor. We created two only and a V-Vault. Like I said, it's really easy.

What was our ROI?

The solution absolutely provides us a return on our investment. I've worked with other storage arrays such as one that IBM was promoting to us. It was the company's first attempt at doing an all-flash array and it bore much similarity to Pure Storage FlashArray. It took us a week to get it up and running. We added some development servers and the whole array went down. We lost everything. Such experiences really make one appreciate the stability and thoughtfulness that goes into the engineering and redundancy and scalability of the solution.

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

You could say that the licensing cost involves a one-time fee, at which point support can be renewed in what I believe to be three-year blocks. As long as a person keeps his support current he can upgrade to the newer version of the array, which can be done once every three to four years.

The solution could be cheaper.

We do not incur additional costs beyond the licensing fee. Something that's really awesome about the solution is that the cost is all-inclusive of the features. There is no need to pay for replication or for any additional features. A person is entitled to employ these when they come out.

What other advice do I have?

In my present company we have around 500 users, but my previous one had closer to 10,000.

In the current company, there are five or six of us that are responsible for overall maintenance and we handle everything. This is in contrast to the company before last in which there were three of us who handled nothing but our four different storage arrays. To be honest, Pure Storage FlashArray does not leave us with much to do. Once it's set up, it just runs on its own and only requires the occasional checkup. It frees us up to do real work.

My advice to others is that this solution is the best available. For someone who's not a storage admin, the support is awesome and help is provided gladly for unfamiliar areas. What's nice about the solution is that it very rarely breaks, which vastly cuts down on downtime. There is much redundancy and support is super proactive. This means that if a part goes bad they will generally know about it before we would. It's such a clean, easy to use, great supportive product. It really frees one up to do other things that are more important.

I rate Pure Storage FlashArray as a ten out of ten, although I would give it a score of 50 were this possible. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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