Pure Storage FlashBlade Review

Works out of the box, fast and scalable with zero-touch maintenance


What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case of this solution is for the massively scalable flash storage that's close by on our on-premise service.

How has it helped my organization?

This solution has improved how our organization functions in the way that it has essentially made us not have to think about storage. That's probably the biggest selling point. Storage is boring and you don't want to think about it. From that point of view, it's provided a lot of benefits. It ticks the big boxes. It's fast, it's scalable, it's essentially zero-touch maintenance. All of those get us eighty, ninety percent of the way.

The biggest feedback is that none of the teams have noticed. I'm not getting negative feedback which is a big improvement from where we were.

What is most valuable?

Primarily, most of the features that we've used work out of the box. It's fairly simple if you just roll it out. We integrated it with our kubernetes cluster fairly painlessly but, also the flip side of that is that's where the pain point is coming from because we need a bit more control over it. That's been the frustrating aspect of it, but for the most part, it was plug and play.

What needs improvement?

The Pure Storage Orchestrator is our biggest pain point at the moment. If we can have more say in future developments of feature sets that we will need to support for our use case, that would be pretty beneficial to us.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Regarding stability, I have no questions so far. We did a hardware upgrade of an older system and it just kept on ticking. I was quite impressed by the zero downtime.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't pushed it to its limits. We're only at one FlashBlade so far. Being able to dynamically scale it as we added more storage was simply enough. I have no reason to believe it wouldn't be as painless when we scale up to multiple FlashBlades.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've only had to use their technical support during run of the mill maintenance events like upgrading the firmware and exchanging the box. It was very helpful during the big upgrade. I had them on video call so we could do it in real time while we were in the data center.

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

We were just using a very homebrew, on-premise, traditional NAS-style storage solution that was quite a few years out of date already. We took the opportunity then to upgrade our infrastructure completely. 
The other solution we looked at was a startup that uses NBME fabric as their solution, but it's not zero touch. You have to configure a lot, you have to take a lot of care of it, so it just didn't appeal from that perspective. That's still why I think Pure Storage ultimately won our business just because it works out of the box.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. If you know how to plug in power and network you're pretty much qualified. They were on site to configure the network, the box to fit into our network architecture. Other than that, we self-managed from there.

What about the implementation team?

We implemented it ourselves.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a solid eight to nine, it does tick all of the major boxes. Our main concern is just with the little customizations that we need.

If someone is considering this solution I would say that for the gap in the market that Pure Storage is going to fill, essentially updating NAS to the 2018s, they excel at that. If you have an existing solution that isn't performing then Pure Storage makes perfect sense to drop into a lot of enterprises.

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