Pure Storage FlashArray Review

A high-performance solution for our SQL Server, but automated copy data management is needed


What is our primary use case?

We primarily use this solution for our SQL server in an on-premises deployment.

Having a dedicated array for our SQL server is very nice.

We are running VMware on Pure, and the main driver for that is because it is all-flash. Also, we wanted a dedicated solution for our SQL environment. Running on Pure has given us the ability to scale out our SQL environments. We tripled our environment in the past three years since implementing this solution, and we have not had any issues with the storage keeping up with the workloads.

We are making use of some of the VMware integrations that have been developed by Pure, but we are really waiting for the copy data management part.

What is most valuable?

We are really enjoying the speed of this solution. The amount of throughput that we're getting is really nice.

What needs improvement?

In the next release of this solution, we would like to see automated copy data management for SQL Server.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We have had zero issues with stability once it is in. However, we have had issues with migrations to different cabinets or different arrays. We had one instance with an eight-hour outage in our primary data center because the upgrade to the controller failed, and the controller redundancy didn't work. It was an odd issue that we now have under control.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This solution scales well. The issue we had with stability is now under control, so we are able to scale out fine. We can just drop in new disks when we need them.

How are customer service and technical support?

When we've had issues, technical support has been really good about resolving them quickly. I was on the call with them when we had the issue with the controller, and they were very, very helpful.

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

Our older solution was not very good. Pure increased our speed a lot. We needed to increase our storage because we were filling up the array. Our SQL footprint has greatly increased over the past three years.

This solution was chosen because we happened to be doing a POC when our previous solution failed horribly, and we moved our production to Pure. It was able to pick it up, which was the selling point.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup of this solution was pretty straightforward. It was a vanilla, out-of-the-box setup with nothing out of the ordinary. 

What about the implementation team?

We used an integrator to assist us with the implementation and deployment of this solution. We were hands-off, but it seems that all went well because everybody is happy with it.

What was our ROI?

We have seen a good return on investment, mainly because we took our SQL Server workload out of the general population and we're able to get it separated, which is a huge advantage to us. The biggest boost is getting separation of duty.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have used InfiniBand in the past. We are now looking at building a new data center, and the vendors on our shortlist are Pure and InfiniBand.

What other advice do I have?

We are now starting to look at some of the copy data management tools that come with the new array.

This is now my go-to product, and I was an InfiniBand guy before. I like how there are database integrators on the Pure team that are actually there to help you tune your database workloads with their solution. I don't see that in a lot of other vendors.

This is a good product and the overall day-to-day workflow within it is great, but some of the issues that we've had with migrations bump it down slightly. The product is good, but it could be better.

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten.

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