Pure Storage FlashArray Review

We're maxing out shelves where we can, doesn't take up as much space, and it's not as hot

What is our primary use case?

We use Pure Storage on our databases. We have massive SQL databases, four-node clusters and we present a LUN directly to them. Then we have Fusion-io cards as a backup. We also use Pure in our data centers to replicate our databases for our DR center so that we can be secure. 

How has it helped my organization?

Pure Storage has helped improve our organization because before them we had a 3PAR of a giant V400 and every day we would lose a disc or a magazine. We had to call out a guy to come onsite. It was a massive three-rack thing. Pure Storage, it's really modular, we're maxing out shelves where we can, and it doesn't take up as much space, it's not as hot, its a lot better than 3PAR.

Replication is the main reason we have it. It has helped to simplify our storage in the way that it just simplifies and there's nothing to really set up. Once we have them linked we ship them over and we sit our RTOs and our RPOs.

As dedupe and compression go up and we get more out of it, then we do see reduction in total cost of ownership. We're also throwing more and more on than we ever had before, so it's hard to tell, but we're getting more data on a smaller array than we ever had before.

The 3PAR SSD arrays that we have are still failing a lot so even though we're under warranty, we still have to get someone out and usually have someone troubleshoot so that usually adds onto the cost. With Pure, we've had a disc fail and we pop it out and you pop it in and it's good to go.

In terms of performance metrics, depending on what we have on it, some of our databases will get 4.8:1. When we do a big release our SQL tables change values so we'll see that reduced and we'll go up to sometimes 110% utilization. We're working with Pure Storage to try to fix that and see what we're changing so much. We also mistakenly had a 10pb on Pure so that data churn really reduced our usable storage. We're learning how to use Pure properly.

What is most valuable?

The magic that the storage does would be the most valuable feature for us. Deduping on the fly is really cool to us because some of our stuff we get around seven to one, which is amazing. I definitely like the new redesign of the UI that was done. We just had to do a DR test, and we had to make snapshots and copy them over, and it was a lot easier to use I think with this new UI than the old stuff.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is good, we haven't had any issues. The only thing is that we've had to upgrade controllers a few times because we ended up wanting to use more stuff on here. At first, just our databases, then we moved our VMs to it. We really haven't had any issues except just needing to upgrade to bigger controllers.

We stream into StatsD from Pure Storage, LogicMoniter, and a few others so we don't use the UI performance manager as much because we like a single pane of glass but it's got everything I need. When we do see latency or we have issues it's usually really clear from the graphs.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In terms of scalability, we buy new controllers or we build new shelves and we're able to scale out pretty much whenever we want, as long as we have the money to spend.

How are customer service and technical support?

We will usually hit up technical support for something that's not too major. We've never had a SEV1 outage with Pure but we've enabled remote support. They log in and they're good to go.

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

We switched because we were running out of support with 3PAR and they wouldn't renew our support unless we got a new array which was a lot of money. We had some of those SSD arrays, we didn't want to put all our eggs in one basket so we spread the vendors by having an SSD array from HPE and Pure. Once we solved the data reduction and what Pure does we were hooked. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was very easy. 

What about the implementation team?

We did the implementation and worked with professional services. For the most part, our main guy in the compute team has had experience and it was pretty simple. We didn't need a forklift like we needed for the HPE. Just rack and sack and ready to go.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI just from being able to move our databases around, because we have different pods, quickly and specifically. With 3PAR we'd have a lot of remote copy failures, and that doesn't look good for an audit or for a DR test. We haven't had any of those problems with Pure, so we spend less time troubleshooting.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have a bunch of different storage, like Isilon from Dell EMC, NetApp, HPE 3PAR, Cohesity, and Pure Storage. They're all different functions, and Pure is our warrior, if we need something really fast, really low latency.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a nine.

If someone was considering this solution I'd definitely ask them what their use case for was. If they had a high workload, like for example, I have a buddy who works in the entertainment industry, and they need to edit 4K video, so they need something like Pure that's really fast. I love the support and I love just what Pure does in general, so I'd definitely suggest it.

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