Pure Storage FlashArray Review

It runs everything from tasks to business intelligence to enterprise applications.

What is our primary use case?

It is the SAN backbone for our company. We have multiple SANs, all Pure at this point. It runs everything from tasks to business intelligence to enterprise applications.

How has it helped my organization?

Snapshot recovery has been very helpful. When there have been snapshots that we've had to restore it's been easy for our SAN team to make those available for our server team.

What is most valuable?

There are a couple of things we really like: the flash storage, the deduplication, and IO times are very good. The snapshots are also fairly useful.

What needs improvement?

The one major gripe I have is that there is no snapshotting enabled by default on the SAN. There was a situation where all of our LUN were essentially made illegitimate. They were corrupted by a redactor. We have snapshots enabled on the majority of our SANS and that was great, we were able to snapshot and restore. There was one data center that our SAN admins had not intentionally gone in and checked the box to allow for replicas to be created. Because of that, we lost that whole data center and everything that was on it. If there had been a checkbox that had been checked by default to have the snapshotting, they wouldn't have gone in and unchecked it and we would still have our data. It generated a lot more work on the server side to rebuild everything that was corrupted.

Also, an additional feature would be replication from our on-premise to AWS that could then be used directly with the cloud. The way the VMware cloud is engineered is we have to have hosts up the entire time to run beats and to have HCX replicating things over to it. If we were able to have replication from Pure over S3 buckets, so that we only had to spin up the VMware host on demand, that would be a tremendous cost saving to us as Pure customers.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We put a fair amount of stress on it because we run sequel workloads and we run web applications where the same web files are hit over and over. We have had almost zero stability issues with that SAN, that has been really great for us. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have around 5 Pure Storage SANs and several of them are maxed out on trays.

How is customer service and technical support?

We are currently having a situation where one of our VMware hosts is not being detected. It has been told to us that it has been presented to Pure, but the VMware host is not capable of seeing it. The support has been working with us, although it's not an instant fix.

What was our ROI?

It was cheaper to purchase Pure than it was to stay with the SAN we had because of the support costs. 

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

Pure Storage is a good price and it's a solid product for the price point. Only two or three times over the last 5 years have we had Pure flash drives die to a point where they had to be replaced, so the reliability is also very good.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In the past we've considered EMC, Dell Compellent (Dell EMC), NetApp and of course Pure Storage. We had Dell Compellent in the past and there were some issues with the implication and the way that it used storage. We had firmware trouble with it, which drove us away to seriously consider other brands offerings. We considered EMC, except EMC was expensive. Pure came in at a better price point than EMC and performed better than Compellent.

What other advice do I have?

When we do a mass migration of data to the Pure SAN, it along with any other SAN out there still has to deduplicate that. So, it arrives in a large chunk before it can finally shrink it down to what Pure is capable of reducing it to through deduplication. Now that we have streamlined our environment on the VMware side, we're able to dump stuff in a large amount. However, for those dumpings we have to wait for Pure to sit and chew on it and then de-duplicate it before we could move the next large amount over there.

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