2023 Pure//Accelerate Conference Product News Roundup

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Pure Storage announced a slew of new releases at this week’s Pure//Accelerate 2023 conference, including next-generation FlashArray//X and FlashArray//C R4 models, the expansion of its Pure//E disk replacement product line, and a new service level agreement (SLA) guarantee aimed at ransomware protection.

“Today’s data center consists of multiple silos, each with different management systems, bogged down in inflexible processes,” said Vice President and General Management for FlashArray Shawn Hansen. “This creates stress, inefficiency, higher OpEx, high energy costs, and leads to increased security threats due to gaps that attackers can take advantage of.”

These latest releases from Pure Storage attack these problems as a way to modernize and simplify IT management and operations. Here’s a look at what the company announced.

New FlashArrays Deliver Performance Boost

Pure’s new FlashArray//X and FlashArray//C were built on PCIe Gen4 using the latest Intel Xeon chipset and DDR5 DRAM. They are said to deliver up to a 40 percent performance boost over previous generations, over 80 percent increased memory speeds to support greater workload consolidation, and to offer a 30 percent inline compression boost to improve capacity.

The FlashArray//C line’s FlashArray//C90 is aimed at workloads and data where sub-two-millisecond latency is not required such as operational databases, workload consolidation, business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), VMware, and file stores. It incorporates 75 TB QLC DirectFlash Modules (DFMs) with built-in non-volatile RAM. DFMs reduce rack space requirements and enable more capacity and improved NVRAM throughput.

FlashArray//X favors 36 TB TLC DFMs that deliver 1.5 petabytes (PB) per 3RU for a 106 percent improvement in density per rack unit compared to the previous generation. Pure said they drive over four-times more energy efficiency compared to competing all-flash arrays.

“In the past we were known for high performance and served the most demanding workloads,” said Hansen. “With our C and X series, we can now range from extreme performance to extreme capacity.”

Pure1 software manages both the performance and capacity models. The C series can scale to 8.9 PB and the X series to 3.3 PB.

Pure//E Product Line Signals Move to New Markets

Pure’s FlashArray//E represents its intent to invade another market—offline archives and lower-tier cold storage disk systems. Previous versions started at 4 PB, but the new version brings the minimum amount of storage capacity required down to 1 PB.

FlashBlade//E is a scale-out unstructured data repository that supports unified file and object workloads. Hansen said it provides an 80 percent reduction in power and space, 60 percent lower operational costs, and 85 percent less e-waste compared to disk.

FlashArray//E also includes the upcoming release of 75 TB QLC DFMs. The company intends to bump capacity up to 300 TB per flash module by 2026. It also claims this system provides considerably higher reliability and energy efficiency compared to competing all-flash arrays.

“FlashArray//E is aimed at markets such as data protection, data archives and content libraries,” said Hansen. “There is no longer a need for lower tiers of storage or cold data repositories anymore.”

Ransomware Recovery Guarantees Added to Evergreen SLA

Another Pure release at the conference concerns ransomware. The company’s Evergreen//Forever subscription program provides steady performance, efficiency, and hardware and software upgrades—without disruption, and at no additional cost.

Evergreen//Flex adds hardware components with controllers that can be reused across the family. The latest Evergreen//One improvement is an add-on subscription for a ransomware recovery SLA guaranteeing a clean storage environment following an attack. It is bundled with technical and professional services to assist with breach recovery. Evergreen//One guarantees next business day shipping of clean storage arrays, 48 hours to finalize a recovery plan, and a data transfer rate of 8 tebibyte (TiB) per hour.

Further improvements to the Pure1 software system include AIOps for anomaly detection, data protection assessments, and a self-service SafeMode configuration and administration. Anomaly detection enables organizations to identify when and where large changes to data structures occur, resulting in reduced time to recovery and minimized data loss.

“After an attack, storage arrays are often locked down for forensic investigation by cyber insurance or law enforcement, leaving organizations unable to recover data to infected arrays,” said Vice President of Product Management and Digital Experience Taruna Gandhi. “This new SLA in Evergreen promises the availability of a clean environment to recover to from ransomware.”

Pure Predicts the End of HDDs 

“The latest advances in FlashBlade and FlashArray take away the price advantage of disk,” said Hansen. “We are predicting the end of disk by 2026.”

Thirty years ago, Gartner and Microsoft promoted the end of mainframe, but it remains and thrives in a specific niche. Similarly, Data Domain proclaimed 20 years ago, “Tape is dead,” yet it is very much a part of a strong archiving and air-gapped storage market.

Hansen said he based his claim on the price point difference between hard disk drives (HDDs) and flash being taken away. Pure Storage believes that HDDs cost about $.20 per GB when you take into account three years of support, and the company’s latest improvements in performance and capacity take the cost of flash down to $.20.

Hansen said he expects HDD density to stall at 40 TB by 2026. Flash is already at 30 TB and is expected to reach 300 TB by 2026. As well as representing a 95 percent or more reduction in floor space for data centers, this shift would also represent a reduction in energy usage.

Drew Robb
Drew Robb
Drew Robb is a contributing writer for Datamation, Enterprise Storage Forum, eSecurity Planet, Channel Insider, and eWeek. He has been reporting on all areas of IT for more than 25 years. He has a degree from the University of Strathclyde UK (USUK), and lives in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.
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