Today Pure Storage, known for their All-Flash Storage arrays, announced their next Big ThingTM, DirectFlash, as well as a new FlashArray model. DirectFlash is a combination of NVMe hardware and the software to manage it (more details on that below). The new array model, the FlashArray//X, uses exclusively DirectFlash as the storage medium.
A Brief Flash Primer
“Flash” refers to silicon-based memory chips used for storage. It tends to come in one of two form factors.
The first is Solid State Drives (SSD). These typically have the same dimensions as hard-disk drives (HDD) and connect via either SATA or (more typically) SAS interfaces.
The second is Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe). These use (not surprisingly) non-volatile memory chips to store data. The “Express” in the name indicates that it connects via PCIe which is not only higher bandwidth than SATA or SAS, but is both physically and logically closer to the storage controllers, making NVMe faster and higher bandwidth than SSD. NVMe is often 5X faster than SSD.
I’ll describe the new offerings from Pure below.