Today, Pure Storage, an all-Flash array vendor I’ve written about before, made three major announcements covering a new program for customers, new hardware, and new management software. Specifically, they announced:
- Evergreen Storage
- The FlashArray//m family (also called FA//m)
- Pure1 Management Platform
I’ll cover all three in detail below.
If you follow the highly-competitive area of all-Flash arrays, you’re probably aware of Pure’s Forever Flash program. The short version of it is that if your Pure Storage array is under maintenance, you’re entitled to a controller upgrade every three years at no extra cost.
Evergreen Storage is an expansion of the Forever Flash concept. Pure will help customers upgrade controllers, storage, and software — non-disruptively and without needing to migrate data off the array — for as long as the array is under maintenance. This includes the no-additional-cost controller upgrade, but also includes the ability to upgrade to newer, faster, denser Flash drives when they become available. In the rare case where it might be needed to make the upgrade work, Pure will provide a loan of “swing space” storage to assist with the upgrade process.
The FlashArray//m or FA//m Family
The FA//m family of all-Flash arrays is Pure’s new next-generation array. It features a new custom-built chassis that holds both the controllers and some storage. The “m” in the name stand for both “modular” and “mini”.
“Modular” is obvious when you take a closer look at the hardware (shown below). It’s designed to support the principles of the Evergreen Storage program. Each part — storage, controllers, NVRAM, I/O modules, etc. — is redundant and designed to be easily swapped/replaced when the Next Big Technology Advancement™ comes along.
“Mini” is because this array takes up less rack space than previous generations of Pure Storage. For the first time for Pure, two controllers and up to 40TB of raw SSD storage fit into a single chassis that takes up 3U of rack space.
The FA//m family consists of three models, the FA//m20, FA//m50, and FA//m70. The FA//m20 is just the base chassis. The FA//m50 is the base chassis with more advanced controllers, and the ability to expand capacity by adding up to two additional 2U disk shelves containing either 12 or 24TB of raw SSD capacity. The FA//m70 is the base chassis with even beefier controllers and the ability to add up to four of the additional disk shelves. The picture below offers a good visual for differentiating the models.
If you’re like me, you’re wishing you had an FA//m Family spec sheet. I can’t give you that, but I can offer you the specification details I was able to piece together below:
Pure1 Management Platform
I’ll admit that I’ve never heard anyone complain that Pure Storage’s arrays are difficult to administer and manage. From own my brief hands-on experience, the management interface is pretty simple and straightforward.
Apparently that wasn’t good enough for Pure Storage, so they’ve introduced Pure1 to make it even easier to monitor and manage your FA arrays.
Pure1 is Pure Storage’s SaaS (Software as a Service) offering that provides access to Pure Storage’s Support organization, and allows customers to manage and monitor multiple Pure Storage arrays from a single pane of glass.
Pure1 takes advantage of the huge amount of data that Pure gathers about the state of each array. If a customer turns on Pure’s “phone-home” feature, the array reports its state back to Pure every 30 seconds. This allows Pure’s Support organization to be very proactive about potential problems on the array, and to often be aware of any hardware or performance issues even before the customer is.
By accessing this data, Pure1 is able to provide customers with detailed reports and analysis on not only the current state of the array, but also any historical trending. Because it’s browser-based, customers can monitor their arrays from anywhere, on any device. Pure has set up security rules in Pure1 so that management tasks can only be performed by administrators accessing Pure1 from inside the customer’s firewall.
Lastly, because Pure1 uses Pure’s databases and is a SaaS offering, it requires no installation of any software — on the array, on your laptop, on your tablet, or on your phone. All it requires is access to a browser and your login credentials.
Here are two mobile device views of the Pure1 dashboard:
The Evergreen Storage program begins today, 1 June 2015.
The FA//m arrays have been in beta test since early Q1. Today Pure is starting Directed Availability for these array. The FA//m arrays will be GA in Q3 of this year.
The Pure1 SaaS offering is available today.