Pure Storage Accelerate: Flash, Cloud, AI and Everything-as-a-Service

The News: Mountain View based Pure Storage celebrated 10-years as a company at its Pure Storage Accelerate conference this past week, and rightly so. The fastest growing storage company between 2014 and 2018 has a lot to celebrate.  Firstly, their stellar growth, from their inception in stealth mode back in 2009, through their product launch in August 2011 through their IPO in October 2015 Pure Storage has seen growth at rates others would be jealous of, often topping 50% annual growth.  The organization’s rise to a 2019 annual revenue of $1.63bn is to be applauded, especially in the fiercely competitive Storage marketplace.

Pure Storage’s mission statement to ‘make powerful IT infrastructure that works like the best consumer technologies’ came across loud and clear from their corporate announcement blog.

Analyst Take: The above-mentioned mission statement from Pure Storage was evident in the company’s announcements made during the week, as the traditionally known flash storage vendor looks to “Accelerate” (Pun intended) on to break the $2bn revenue mark. 

Let’s break down all of the big announcements and what we see for the company going forward.

Everything-aaS – Pure Storage announced that all of their products will be available as a Service, building to deliver on three key themes – Simple, Seamless and Sustainable.  Pure claims it is the first and only company to offer a unified subscription that enables its client’s complete flexibility across cloud and on-premises solutions.  According to their product announcement blog this approach “helps organizations replace antiquated storage systems with fast, flexible resources that fit modern operating environments”.

Analyst View: Lofty ambitions by the company but given their strong growth and client sentiment towards their offering Pure is largely delivering on their promises.  The company’s focus on building the ‘Modern Data Experience’ is well placed as technical debt and overly complex storage solutions are rife in enterprises globally.  The company’s focus on delivering simple API defined storage services underpinned by common management tools backed by analytics that are actionable is right on message and what many clients are striving for.  Coupled with a seamless set of storage services that can handle any protocol, storage tier and connect to multiple clouds provides a nirvana for IT operations managers.  The CFO and procurement team also get a win, as the Pure delivers its offerings in a commercial framework where its customer’s buy only what they need, when they need it and can apparently upgrade to the latest innovations without pain or penalties.

Flash Array announcements – Pure made core product updates at Accelerate announcing an expansion of the Pure Storage FlashArray product line with a focusing on delivering a modern data management experience, with NVMe based flash across the entire stack. The FlashArray//X has Intel’s Optane Persistent Memory built in and the system capacity was doubled in the announcements. The FlashArray//X70 and //X90 models get read caching with Direct Memory Modules that are based on 750GB of Optane storage-class memory.

Analyst View:  This capability will be provided as a non-disruptive upgrade for workloads that are qualified by Pure. This will translate into huge reduction in latency the storage vendor went on to clarify with 80% of its installed //70-90 arrays seeing a 20% reduction in latency with a further 40% seeing as much as 50% reduction. We continue to see investment in reduced latency gaining momentum and this is also a clear reason that Intel Optane PM was chosen for this use case.

The //C arrays designed for block access are pitched as a storage tier for test dev workloads largely leveraging production data from the //X arrays to hold snapped data and provide a disaster recovery capability for the //X arrays.  Alex McMullan, Pure’s international CTO went on record said that Pure will ship //C arrays with TLC (3bits/cell) chips until QLC chip availability hits mainstream availability.

Cloud – Pure announced major additions to their Cloud Data Services portfolio with the design point being clients desire to embrace the strategic value of hybrid cloud model.  These newly announced Cloud Services enable simplified migration to and from Amazon Web Services with minimal re-architecture while allowing clients to leverage the economics provided by public cloud providers for their given use case.  In an interview with Data Center Knowledge Chadd Kenney, Pure’s VP of products an and solutions outlined the announcement by saying “It has the same API’s as our on-premise solution, so any workflows or automation you’ve built works great” he went on to say “it also has the same efficiency software -deduplication, compression and thin provisioning – to reduce the capacity footprint in the cloud.”

Analyst View: Migration toward a hybrid friendly environment has become a must and a lack of clear strategy here could lead to a weakened position for any company in the storage space. Pure’s announcement simplifying migration with AWS meets the critical minimum requirements and show intention for the company to address continued requirements for companies building a hybrid/multi-cloud architecture. 

AI Data Hub – This product is the latest deliverable from the Pure relationship with Nvidia.  AI Data Hub’s Kubernetes orchestration-based reference architecture spans the data pipeline.  Silo unification is the goal here according to Pure.  AI Data Hub provides a robust platform for data ingest, while providing data cleansing and labelling.  This approach enables data scientists to use data subset and to build, train and deploy machine learning models.

Note: I have written previously about Pure’s announcements in AI for more detail check out my Analyst Take here.

Final Thoughts on the Pure Accelerate Announcements

Pure Storage as a cloud company has bridged from start-up to major player in 10-years with strong growth a solid product portfolio, the right strategic alignments and a good roadmap ahead of it.  The all flash datacenter is still Pure’s solid north star for them strategically and the focus on Simple, Seamless and Sustainable storage experiences for its clients is obviously gaining traction based on the sustained growth in revenues.

The Accelerate announcements this week mean the organization is primed for continued strong growth and continued disruption of the well documented traditional leaders in storage and will undoubtedly lead to continued gains in market share over the next 12-24 months.

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Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.

Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited by CNBC, Barrons, Business Insider and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.
Daniel Newman