Pure Storage FlashArray Review

It has a lot of statistics which help out with capacity planning

What is our primary use case?

Anytime that you need fast storage. 

How has it helped my organization?

The back-end data reporting for Pure Storage is phenomenal. The data that you can see on the performance of your customers' array, so you can be proactive about upgrades or enhancements, and is a phenomenal tool to have access to as a partner. I haven't seen this type of stuff out of anything of the other storage systems.

Pure Storage has a lot of statistics which help out with capacity planning.

As a partner administrating the solution, the back-end reporting has positively affected the time involved in managing and administrating.

What is most valuable?

Performance is its most valuable feature. There is nobody else who is coming close, not that I have seen. 

They are on the money with the predictive performance analytics. They claim high performance, and they do have it.

What needs improvement?

There are things that they are doing with the interface all the time to make it better. It is not the easiest to work with, but it is getting close. As far as interfaces, I always liked Nimble's interface the best. Though, Nimble's interface has been stuck in the mud for the last three to four years since HPE took them over. There hasn't been a whole lot of changes to Nimble. Whereas, Pure Storage has been continuing to improve, which is pretty good. It is not top of the market, but it is getting there.

The UI reporting is adequate. 

The setup needs to be improved the most. They can do a little more with the user interface, but the setup is what I would like to see made a bit easier.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I can't think of a time I've had a problem with a Pure Storage array. You might get drive fail once in a while, but it has never been a problem. Usually, that will get reported in the partner dashboard and we will get an alert. Pure Storage will also get an alert. 

Nimble used to be the best if you had a part fail. It would be on your doorstep the next morning. It just showed up, every time. No questions. They have lost some of that with HPE. 

Pure Storage is still pretty good. I haven't heard any customers tell me that they just had a part just show up without even knowing anything was down, like I used to hear about with Nimble. However, usually they will get some type of an alert from Pure Storage, such as, "Looks like you lost a drive. Do you want us to send someone out or a power supply?" Then, get it out.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

They are at least 30 percent faster than their closest competitor. It depends always on the differences on how you scale. I had customers get NetApp, who couldn't get anything out of it. They finally added another storage shelf and started getting some decent numbers. Well, instead of adding a couple more storage shelves, I could do that with one Pure Storage array. What if I don't need that much storage and don't want to have five shelves? You don't need that with Pure Storage, because one shelf will strain.

I don't have any massive Pure Storage installs. Probably the biggest ones that I have been apart of are five or six arrays.

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

I have at least three customers who have had other stores solutions and installed Pure Storage. There is no comparison. Their old storage solutions have now been relegated to archive, or they have ripped them out.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup can be challenging. If everything works the way it a supposed to, which it often does, then it is fine. However, when your encounter problems and you have to get into those local admin accounts, that can be a pain. You have to call tech, they need to look up what the password is, then send it to you, which can be a pain.

I would like to see a bit different setup. It would be nice if they have something where you can plug into the thing and see an HTTPS address, like with a bench setup. A couple of other vendors has upped their own Layer 2 protocol for discovery. As long as you are on the same network segment, it pops right up  and you can do the base config, then you are ready to log into it in about five minutes. Pure Storage's process is not bad, but it could still be better.

I have never had a problem with a firmware or controller update.

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

With the pricing, they have, it is pretty competitive to spinning disk.

I have had a couple of customers who have complained about the cost. It can be a little more expensive than some of the other platforms. After it has been installed, I have never had a customer say, "I wish we wouldn't have spent all that extra money." They have always been happy with the product after it has been installed. They might be on the fence about it because of the price, but everybody who I have ever seen install it, they are always happy with it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The competing vendors are NetApp, Nimble, and IBM. I don't run into a lot of Dell EMC. Customers pick Pure Storage for performance.

There is no comparison performance-wise. I also install Nimble for storage, and Nimble has flash and all-flash, as well. However, if you are looking at the performance numbers, these Pure Storage is just killing it.

What other advice do I have?

I have integrated the solution with vCenter. There is nothing remarkable about it. It works. I have no complaints.

I think all vendors have a pretty decent platform for inline deduplication and compression. There are always little differences here and there, but I haven't seen anything remarkable with Pure Storage.

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