Pure Storage FlashArray Review

Deduplication in the array combined with its snap technologies allows the product to be remotely/manually controlled or scheduled


What is our primary use case?

Most of our customers who use Pure Storage have one of two scenarios: 

  1. They have production data with high performance requirements running out of Pure Storage, and they want an efficient way to make a copy of that data onto some other storage for backup and DR purposes. For this scenario, we have integration with Pure Storage that allows us to very efficiently leverage their APIs to capture that data without the need to do things like repeated full copies of that data, leverages their snapshot APIs and differential APIs which tell us what's different from one snap to another to another.
  2. The customer has their data, maybe it is on Pure Storage or it's on some other array, then they want to use Actifio to get a copy onto a Pure Storage array. 

For example, an Oracle user might need to make a copy of a large Oracle Database. They would want us to spin that database up in one or more lower, testing, or QA environments. These environments sometimes have high performance requirements, which could be met by placing a copy on Pure Storage on them.

Another example is a customer who has Oracle Exadata. Obviously, Oracle engineered systems have very high performance, and they don't want to have all of their test and dev copies in that Exadata platform, because of the cost of the platform. Therefore, Pure Storage, combined with Actifio, captures the data efficiently from the Exadata environment, then stores it on the Pure Storage disk. We then present that data to their test servers, which can be the Exadata Compute Servers or it can be any non-Exadata Linux-based Oracle servers. Then, they can have great performance because of the high speed delivery of data from Pure Storage using Actifio.

What is most valuable?

  1. The performance of the high speed FlashArrays. 
  2. They have a good API set. Their flash snapshot technologies are efficient. 
  3. The deduplication in the array, which is one of the main reasons that it's a cost effective platform, and combining it with the snap technologies, allows the product to be remotely controlled, manually controlled, or scheduled. It does efficient work of storing data while still delivering the performance that you would normally expect from a higher priced solution.

What needs improvement?

They have a product, FlashBlade, which is their object storage integration, and that's something that we haven't integrated with yet. This might be an area for additional focus as it would play into scalability, because the very nature of object storage is that it's infinitely scalable.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Customers don't talk about problems, outages, or crashes with Pure Storage, while I do hear this with some of the other vendors that I have dealt with. I have nothing but the highest regard for Pure Storage when it comes to stability.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is straightforward. Anyone who is familiar with setting up Pure Storage can set it up with Actifio in the mix. Anyone familiar with Actifio can integrate it with any back-end storage. Actifio runs, in most scenarios, as a virtual machine. We use whatever storage the hypervisor gives us. Setting up Pure Storage to present the storage to a hypervisor, like VMware or Hyper-V, is run of the mill, and the most common use case there is. 

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

It is light years beyond anything else with the same price point.

What other advice do I have?

If I want a product which has reliability and high speed, and Pure Storage is the first name that comes out of my mouth. I recommend them.

These days, most storage products, with a few exceptions, are simple to operate. The market has made a huge emphasis on simplicity over the last five to seven years. I don't know that Pure Storage is simpler than anybody else's product, but it certainly is in the category of simple and easy to use.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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