All Pure Storage related posts

    Pure live: accelerate possible

    Pure Accelerate Live Possible

    Pure Storage is coming to show you what's next in all-flash storage technology.

    As most of you know I have been working for Pure for 2 years now as virtualizaton architect for the past 2 years. I never mention much about Pure as a company on this blog. Reason for this: this is a technology blog that has always been reviewing products from dfferent vendors and we will keep doing so. Best example I guess is that my HP counterpart in Singapore is blogging on here too.

    That being said if I see something interesting happening at Pure (what happens all the time) and I am allowerd to talk about it (what nearly ever happens) I don’t belive its unethical to highlight it. I would do the same for any other company,. Feel free to comment if you disagree, its a thin line. I realize that but I write about my passion and that is technology, not politics.

    Click here to see the inital post

    Pure Storage's commodity driven hardware = Pushing the cloud acceleration

    A few years ago I had a weekly running routine here in Singapore with one of the senior execs of one of the storage giants who happened to be a good friend of mine. We found a nice 10k jungle track we regulary ran to stay in shape and in the mean time we disucessed trends in the IT industry. We are talking easily 3 to 4 years back which is a lifetime in IT. During one of our discussions we discussed the future of storage (this was way before hyper converged came out of stealth) and I remember him saying and I quote: "In the near future a storage device will be just a black box you plug in and you got a whole bunch of API's you use to control the thing" Fast forward 4 years. Did his prediction come through?

    So what is the answer, did his prediction come through?

    Click here to see the inital post

    The Future of Flash is just around the corner: Join Pure Storage for a first look!


    A quick post to make sure you have the opportunity to register for Pure Transformation2 next week in your country. What is Pure Transformation? In August 2011, Pure brought us the all-flash array that sparked a massive transformation in the storage industry.  Four years later, Pure Storage is doing it again.  On June 1st, Pure will announce revolutionary new products that will change the way you think about storage and we would love for you to be there!

    Register today to attend this 3-hour event in over 50 cities across the globe. We'll give you a glimpse into the future of business and IT innovation that will both surprise and delight you.

    Agenda includes:

    • Opening keynote delivered by top Pure Storage executives, including CEO, Scott Dietzen and President, David Hatfield
    • Launch announcements with a peek of what's next from Pure
    • User's panel with leaders from companies like: The Nielsen Company, Investec Asset Management, Maurice Blackburn Lawyers and Perfection Fresh

    Can't join live? Watch the live stream of the event from New York City on June 1st at 2:30PM ET.

    Check the Pure Launch registration site for registration, dates and venues in APAC, EMEA and the Americas:

    For APAC these are the venues and dates for the different country launches:

    Singapore-eventSingapore - June 05
    The White Rabbit
    39C Harding Road
    Singapore Singapore
    Doors open at 14:00
    Presentations from 14:30 - 17:30
    Networking Reception from 17:30 - 19:30

    Sydney-eventSydney Australia - June 02
    The Ivy Ballroom
    Level 1, Ivy
    320 George Street
    Doors open at 14:00
    Presentations from 14:30 - 17:30
    Networking Reception from 17:30 - 19:30

    Tokyo-eventTokyo 東京 - 6月9日



    Seoul-eventSeoul 서울 – 6월 4일 (목)
    코엑스 인터콘티넨탈 호텔
    하모니볼룸 HL/B1
    (135-975) 서울특별시 강남구 봉은사로 524
    14: 00 등록 확인
    14:30~17:30 퓨어스토리지 세션발표
    17:30 ~18:30 저녁식사

    Melbourne - June 03
    Zinc Federation Square
    Swanston Street & Flinders Street
    Melbourne Australia
    8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

    Kuala Lumpur - June 09
    Majestic Hotel
    5 Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin
    KL City Centre Malaysia
    Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
    9.45am - 12.30pm

    Hong Kong - June 11
    Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong 
    8 Finance Street, Central
    Hong Kong
    9:00 am - 12:00 pm
    9:30 am session starts

    Taipei 台北 - June 12
    台北 W 酒店
    忠孝東路五段 10 號, 信義區 · 臺北, 110 · 臺灣
    2:00pm - 4:30pm
    2:30pm session starts

    Auckland Aotearoa! - June 12
    The Generator
    Level 1
    22-28 Customs Street East
    Auckland New Zealand
    8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

    Perth - June 16
    The Conservatory Rooftop Bar
    356 Murray Street
    Perth Australia
    8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

    Busan 부산 – 6월 17일 (수)
    Novotel Hotel Grand ballroom C 5F
    (노보텔 호텔, 그랜드 볼륨 C 층 )
    부산광역시 해운대구 정동 1405-16
    15: 00 등록 확인
    15:30~17:30 퓨어스토리지 세션발표
    17:30 ~18:30 저녁식사

    Dejeon 대전 - June 18
    Hotel Riviera, Peony Hall 14F
    (호텔 리베라, 피오니홀 14층 )
    대전광역시 유성구 온천서로 7(봉명동)
    15: 00 등록 확인
    15:30~17:30 퓨어스토리지 세션발표
    17:30 ~18:30 저녁식사

    Osaka 大阪 - June 23
    OAPタワー 24F

    Hope to see you on one of these events - do come say hi if you see me and be sure to attend your country's session to see the future of Flash storage - best 3 hours you will spend that week!
    Click here to see the inital post

    Flash For All - The Pure Storage Way - Part 2


    As a follow up to Didier's great post last year on the Pure product family I will be creating some additional posts starting with a quick overview of of the current product offering and a series of articles providing a more technical deep dive of individual product features.

    Why a Pure All Flash Array (AFA)?

    This is a question that keeps popping up and the answer is not as simple as to say: "We need muchos performance." Of course performance is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about flash and for some products on the market that is the single most important feature their product offers but Pure arrays boast a lot more than that. Pure set out to be a disruptive storage company not only from a technology perspective but also from a business perspective: for example have a look at Pure's Forever Flash program which includes free controller upgrades every 3 year. Combined with Non Disruptive Upgrades (no downtime required when updating firmware, replacing or upgrading shelves and or controllers - even between product iterations) this provides a different proposition from the other players on the market as your storage infrastructure now has a 6 year deprecation cycle rather than the standard 3 years - with no surprises or hidden charges. Pure storage helps building the business case for an AFA by helping you justify the cost even before buying any hardware. Also the Love Your Storage guarantee is unique: 30 days money back guarantee on any array you place in the datacenter: this allows you to try before you buy. Again very different from any other player on the market.

    Drilling down on the question - why an AFA? - I think the question should be reversed: why not? If we look at the storage industry over the last century it is easy to see flash storage sticks out to be the single most disruptive technology to come to the storage market. Disk speeds have been static over the last decade and the only way to improve performance is either to use Flash storage actings as a cache between your controller and underlying slower disks or - more traditionally - to create complicated RAID and disk group configurations effectively striping your data over a bunch of disks combining individual disk IOP's into a cohesion. With an AFA all of this complexity becomes obsolete and performance becomes predictable and reliable resulting in operational simplicity with less overhead for storage teams. Operational teams now have extra cycles to manage what counts: the applications rather than the underlying infrastructure.

    What normally comes up now is the question: but what about the cost? A valid point. Solid State Drives (SSD's) have been around for a long time and historically have been more expensive in purchase than their counterparts in the mechanical world. Firstly Pure storage has addressed this issue by optimizing data reduction technologies such as deduplication and compression, both technologies are performed inline before the data is written to disk. This results in the terms "raw" and "effective" capacity - raw is the capacity that the array physically has (eg the amount of space combining all of the SSD's), effective capacity assumes HA, RAID, and metadata overhead, GB-to-GiB conversion, and includes the benefit of data reduction with always-on inline deduplication, compression and pattern removal. For VDI deployments data reduction can go up to 20:1 or more, for VSI deployments there can be a 9:1 gain and for databases this can be up to 4:1 or higher. (Numbers don't not include thin provisioning as I don't consider this a data reduction technology.)

    Per Moore's law, as density increases, the price for Flash storage comes down. At the moment the price for flash is approximately $3 to 5/GB. Within reasonable time (according to Moore's law) the price for Flash storage will be lower than spinning disk and the discussion "capacity vs performance" will be over. At that point All Flash Arrays will be the norm. In the meantime data reduction technologies will help close the gap and bring down the price. Now take into account the predictable speed your applications will run at when moved to an AFA (databases queries will process in minutes rather than hours). The value add for your business is not something you quantify in an IT project scope but it speaks for itself that the less time waiting for applications to return results the more money can be made and the competitive edge can be made bigger. Can your business afford to miss out on this?

    Products *UPDATE*

    Since Didier's article Pure has expanded it's product offering and sunset the 300 series of arrays (after the 100 and 200 series). Every iteration of the FlashArray Pure adds more usable capacity to the product offering as shown in the below figure.


    At the moment of writing Pure has 3 models in the 400 series on the market: the FlashArray 405, 420 and 450:


    These are the quick specs for each model:

    FA-405 FA-420 FA-450
    Performance 100k 32K* IOPS @ <1ms latency
    3 GB/s bandwith
    150k 32K* IOPS @ <1ms latency
    5 GB/s bandwith
    200k 32K IOPS* @ <1ms latency
    7 GB/s bandwith
    Capacity (Raw - Effective) 2.75-11TB / up to 40TB effective 11-35TB / up to 125TB effective 22-70TB / up to 125TB effective
    Connectivity 4x8 Gb/s FC - 4x10Gb iSCSI
    Replication + mgmt Ethernet ports
    8x8 Gb/s FC or 8x10Gb iSCSI
    Replication + mgmt Ethernet ports
    8x16 Gb/s FC or 8x10Gb iSCSI
    12x16 Gb/s FC or 12x10 Gb/s iSCSI
    Replication + mgmt Ethernet ports
    Size 2x1U + disk shelves 2x2U + disk shelves 2x2U + disk shelves

    *Why 32K, not 4K IOPS? The industry commonly markets 4K IOPS benchmark to make numbers look high, but real-world environments are dominated by IO sizes of 32K or larger!


    The Purity Operating Environment is the software layer that comes, free of charge, with each FlashArray. Purity has been developed from the ground up for Flash and therefore is unique: because of the speed of the underlying storage Purity is able to boast features like inline (ak real time) compression, deduplication and pattern removal before data is written to disk and without a noticeable performance impact. I will be talking more about Purity in future blog posts but for now these are some of the features it comes packed with (again all included free of charge):

    • Inline Compression, Deduplication and Pattern removal
    • Thin Provisioning
    • ZeroSnap (fast cloning, ideal for VDI)
    • Always on 256-bit AES encryption
    • OpenStack integration (cinder driver)
    • Online, non-disruptive OS/firmware upgrades
    • Replication, snapshots and protection policies
    • REST API
    • RAID 3D
    • VMware VAAI primitives
    • VMware SRM integration

    This are some of the management features that come with Purity:

    • HTML5 Web Client
    • VMware Web Client Plug-in (v2)
    • VMware vRealize LogInsight and vRealize Operations integration
    • VMturbo Integration
    • PowerCLI (PowerShell commandlets)
    • REST API
    • HTML5 Web Client

    In future blog posts I will do a more detailed deep dive into the above features and hopefully show your why they are the special sauce that makes the Pure storage arrays truly "non-disruptive / all-flash / data-reduction / storage arrays"  and why those terms are important when considering an All Flash Array.

    Click here to see the inital post

    Flash For All - The Pure Storage Way - Part 1


    Ask any storage guys these days and chances are you’ll hear the word “flash” in the first 2mn of your conversation. The flash revolution is on and there’s no stopping it!

    There are an ever-growing number of storage vendors pushing flash technology into the data center. A lot of them have attempted to retrofit existing arrays in order to integrate SSDs somewhere in the data path with various degrees of success. For example, we’ve seen an abundance of storage companies integrate flash as a fast middle tier, squeezed between the expensive RAM and conventional SAS/SATA drives. A recent alternative called host-side flash cache is gaining popularity and brings your compute and storage resources in close proximity by leveraging directly attached SSDs or PCIe cards, again acting as a cache/accelerator for IOs. Not every host-cache solution is the same, most only provide read cache (and write through) while others are able to accelerate your writes as well (write-back).

    There is also a relatively new category which doesn’t have many players yet > All-Flash Arrays

    I recently came around this company called Pure Storage and they’ve generated a decent amount of buzz with their all-flash array. They’ve been around for a little more than 3 years, mostly in stealth mode until recently. They seem to have a head start in the all-flash array game and judging by their latest round of funding - 150 millions! - people believe in them big time.

    I was intrigued to know more about their technology and had the chance to bump into their Singapore team while over in Lion City for a holiday. I also just happened that their lead engineer was in town, an excellent occasion to pick his brain and try to find out what’s under the hood.


    Pure Storage currently offers 2 versions of their all-flash arrays. Here are the quick specs at a glance:

    FA-300 Series

    FA-400 Series


    Up to 200’000 IOPS at <1ms

    Up to 400’000 IOPS <1ms

    Capacity (raw / effective)

    11 TBs / 50 TBs

    23 TBs / 100 TBs

    Host Connectivity

    FC or iSCSI

    FC or iSCSI




    The full specs can be found here

    At this point you might very well ask: “how do you explain the magic between the raw and effective capacity numbers?”…read on, it will start to make sense.Pure-Array

    Architecture Overview
    The array was designed with a best of breed components in mind, packaged on top of an x86 platform. The 2 storage controllers are inter-connected by a 40 Gbps Infiniband bus and works as active/active. The box runs on “Purity OS”, a custom and optimized build of Ubuntu Server. The architecture is designed in a way that each storage processor is able to handle the entire load of the array if needed. This highly resilient design will not impact performance in case of a hardware failure and allows for online firmware/OS upgrades in a rolling fashion with no downtime. The disk shelves contain NVRAM and the SSD drives are connected to the storage processors over 6x 6 Gbps SAS links, providing plenty of bandwidth and redundancy.


    The Pure Storage arrays boast an impressive list of features including:

    • Compression
    • Deduplication (inline - always on)
    • Thin Provisioning
    • ZeroSnap (fast cloning, ideal for VDI)
    • VMware VAAI primitives
    • VMware Web Client Plug-in
    • 256-bit AES encryption
    • OpenStack integration (cinder driver)
    • Online OS/firmware upgrades
    • REST API
    • RAID 3D


    The Challenge - Making Enterprise Flash Affordable
    Pure Storage is not picky when it comes to SSD drives. In fact, they will work with any vendor they like. The entire design revolves around consumer-grade MLC flash and helps to drive the overall price down. The storage processors will adjust the writing patterns based on the drive specifics in order to optimize their lifetime.

    The 1-2 punch built at the heart of their Purity OS is probably the biggest strength of their box. It will seamlessly (inline) compress and deduplicate everything that you throw at it, while maintaining sub-millisecond latency. Now, how cool is that? Pure officially guarantees a 5:1 ratio in data reduction and this is considered (by them) to be a pretty conservative figure.

    Knowing that one of the engineers behind Pure’s deduplication engine was previously applying his science at Data Domain, I have little doubt in their ability to produce something at least as efficient if not better. For those who have ever had their hands on a Data Domain backup appliance you would have been impressed with the data reduction ratio for sure.

    With regards to compression, the Pure engineer mentioned they use up to 7 different mechanisms/algorithms to crunch the data. The array controller will automatically offload these CPU intensive operations to the Intel cores (12 Westmere or 16 Sandy Bridge cores depending on the model) that power the box. It will automatically pick the optimal compression method based on the load of the array at any point of time. A background process will then be tasked to further compress the data if possible, during off-peak periods.

    Historically you just could not think of an all-flash array, the premium you would pay for SSD drives would just kill the ROI. Pure Storage’s moto is: “Flash for All” and this becomes reality once you bring down the economics of flash with clever data reduction algorithms without scarifying high performance and enterprise level resiliency. I can also imagine the massive savings in terms of electricity when you compare their array with a traditional one.


    Up Next
    In the subsequent posts of this series on Pure Storage, we’ll explore some of the listed features in depth and discuss how the array behaves with different type of workloads. I fully expect to get my hands on a demo box at some point and be able to record a few videos. If you have any questions regarding the array, feel free to leave a comment in the section below.


    Click here to see the inital post

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