Pure Storage sees stellar growth in APAC

Pure Storage is expanding its footprint in key markets such as Australia, Japan and South Korea, even as it proceeds with caution in China

Asia-Pacific is proving to be a hotspot for Pure Storage, which grew its business in the region by 69% during the second quarter of 2019, according to IDC.

This growth momentum was revealed by Pure Storage’s international vice-president James Petter, who added that the storage supplier has been expanding its footprint in key markets such as Australia, Japan and South Korea.

The company currently operates in 11 markets across Asia-Pacific and has been adding 30% more headcount to support its growth across the region.

“In order to be successful in the market, you need to have critical mass,” said Petter. “That’s why our growth in headcount is quite aggressive.”

Much of Pure Storage’s growth has been driven by demand for its storage offerings in the public, service provider and commercial sectors.

In Australia, for example, Pure Storage has found its way into well-known companies such as telecoms service provider Optus and ANZ Bank.

The company also increased its headcount in Australia by 25% and opened a new office in Melbourne in 2018.

Experience in key industries

In Japan, Pure Storage’s largest market in Asia-Pacific, the company has built up a management team with experience in key industries such as manufacturing and finance.

It also recorded a 47% growth in the number of new customers in Japan, so “our message is resonating in that market”, said Petter.

During a media briefing on the sidelines of Pure Accelerate 2019 in Austin, Petter also pointed out the varying adoption of Pure Storage’s products across the region.

FlashBlade, for example, has been very well received in South Korea, more so than other markets in the region. “But we expect that once we get FlashBlade in, we will then get a drag on the other products as we broaden our conversations with Korean customers,” he said.

Matt Oostveen, chief technology officer for Pure Storage in Asia-Pacific and Japan, reckons the higher adoption of FlashBlade in South Korea is partly driven by the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics in the country’s manufacturing sector.

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“FlashBlade is a high-performance, scale-out storage architecture that works very well for analytics workloads and has been found to be extremely useful for AI applications,” he told Computer Weekly.

On the company’s plans for China, Petter said Pure Storage currently operates out of Hong Kong and does not have a legal entity in the country.

“We’re also cognizant of some of the import and export taxes that are incurred in China,” said Petter, adding that Pure Storage needs to make sure it can be competitive against that backdrop if it were to succeed.

“We’re still in the early days, and we’re proceeding with caution,” he said. “This is a top-line, and not a margin play.”

Still, Petter acknowledged that China remains a big opportunity. “It’s the biggest market globally, and if you not in that country, you’ll have to question where your growth is going to come from.”

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