Pure Storage FlashBlade//E Is a Major Milestone in the Flash Era

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Data storage provider Pure Storage announced Pure Storage Flashblade//E for rapidly scaling unstructured loads of data.

FlashBlade//E marks the shift from disk storage to flash for large volumes of data, something previously unrealistic and cost-ineffective. It’s designed for organizations that need to scale their data rapidly. 

FlashBlade//E is priced under $0.20 per GB and offers three years of service. According to Pure Storage, it’s more affordable than disk overall, and total cost of ownership is lower than disk systems. FlashBlade//E capacity starts at four petabytes and grows in two-PB increments. 

FlashBlade//E is designed for sustainability. It consumes less power than traditional hard drive storage systems. For enterprises that prioritize more sustainable data centers, this could be a key feature: data centers consume around 1% of all total energy. As large data volumes increase, the energy required to support them will also increase. Pure Storage attempts to mitigate this effect with FlashBlade//E, which can consume up to five times less energy than disk storage. 

Read about the best all-flash storage arrays.

The significance of FlashBlade//E

FlashBlade//E is designed for large volumes of data. It starts at 4 PB, and enterprises can scale from there. Other offerings, like FlashBlade//S, have also focused on scaling out large unstructured data volumes. FlashBlade//E is designed to be affordable for data center operations — even more affordable than disk, according to Pure’s VP and GM of FlashBlade, Amy Fowler.

Disk also isn’t doable long-term for businesses with quickly scaling mission-critical data. It works for archive storage, but not for data that needs to be quickly retrieved for important business applications. Previously, storing all data for everyday workloads on flash has been unsustainable or just too expensive compared to disk. With FlashBlade//E, Pure Storage aims to close that gap.

FlashBlade//EE is for everyday file and object workloads, while FlashBlade//S is designed for the highest-performing workloads. Both are critical. FlashBlade//E is also useful for random workloads, like other flash solutions.  

FlashBlade//E also offers repositories specifically designed for data protection and security. Pure Storage already offers Safe Mode snapshots for backup data, which began a few years ago. FlashBlade//S restores data rapidly in the event of a data loss. 

But long-term, non-mission-critical backup data poses a different problem, one that Pure Storage plans to solve with FlashBlade//E. “There are a number of reasons why this type of backup data may be necessary – including, but not limited to, government regulations and compliance,” Fowler said. “Up until now, that year’s worth of data has been stored on disk-based storage systems, limiting flexibility and delivering inconsistent performance across environments.”

Fowler compared FlashBlade//E’s performance to the predictability of disk, while providing data protection features similar to FlashBlade//S. “Organizations that don’t require rapid restore capabilities can instead leverage FlashBlade//E for the long term retention of the data protection workloads at a comparable price to disk-based storage systems,” she explained.

A long-awaited moment for the storage industry

The journey of the data storage industry to widespread flash usage has been a long and arduous one. For decades, hard drives have been the more affordable solution for cold storage tiers, and it was hard for storage teams to imagine a realistic implementation of flash for anything other than hot data. 

From the beginning, Pure Storage’s approach to flash has been revolutionary. Its focus on flash and only flash was a risk, but one that has paid off. With the release of FlashBlade//E, Pure Storage has introduced a new era of storage: one in which more sustainable, affordable flash storage just might be possible for all data. 

Read about the most important questions to ask all-flash vendors next. 

Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a contributor for Enterprise Mobile Today, Webopedia.com, and Enterprise Storage Forum. She writes about information technology security, networking, and data storage. Jenna lives in Nashville, TN.
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