C40, C60 R3, go! Pure adds to FlashArray//C QLC flash range

Hybrid storage killers: Pure Storage adds entry-level FlashArray//C40 R3 QLC array plus re-CPUed C60 R3 that will scale to 5PB or more

Pure Storage has added the new entry-level FlashArray//C40 R3 QLC flash storage array as well as a new top of the range model – the C60 R3 – which takes raw capacity up near 2PB.

The C40 will scale from 247TB to 494TB, which slots it in as a lower capacity option to the existing C60-366.

The C60 R3 tops the range now in terms of capacity with 1.8PB raw, which would be around 5PB when data reduction methods have been applied. Both new products have uprated Intel Cascade Lake CPUs. There is also an incremental upgrade to the Purity operating system, to version 6.1.

The FlashArray//C range is equipped solely with quad-level cell (QLC) NAND SSDs.

QLC is the latest iteration of NAND flash storage. It uses 16 different voltage levels to provide four bits of data per flash cell.

This offers high capacity but affects the lifespan of QLC flash chips and means they are better suited to sequential read input/output (I/O) rather than more mixed workloads handled by multi-level cell (MLC) flash, for example.

The FlashArray//C product range is intended as an alternative in the market to hybrid flash and HDD-based storage arrays for secondary storage and bulk storage use cases, said CTO Alex McMullan.  “FlashArray//C is aimed fairly and squarely at removing the last of the hard drive-based products from the datacentre.”

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The company also announced several other enhancements to the FlashArray//C range as well as to the FlashBlade products.

Pure has extended its NVMe-over-fabrics support with the addition of Fibre Channel over NVMe. This comes in addition to existing support for RDMA/RoCE.

NVMe-over-fabrics extends the performance of NVMe drives out to hosts by bundling NVMe-transported packets/frames into a wrapper such as Fibre Channel.  That allows customers to benefit from NVMe performance end-to-end.

Connectivity has been extended to SMB 2 in FlashBlade, which McMullan said would help the company target high-bandwidth implementations such as video rendering. SMB 3 support would be available “in the summer” he added.  Cross-protocol access control between NFS and SMB has also been added.

Safe Mode in FlashBlade – the company’s analytics-focussed flash storage products – can now offload snapshots to FlashArray//C, and write-protects snapshots until their expiration date, when they are deleted to make way for others.  Previously, snapshots in Safe Mode remained resident on the FlashBlade array only.

Existing Pure customers can migrate from incumbent FlashArray//C products to the C40 R3 and C60 R3 under the company’s Evergreen programme, which allows the customer to buy the array and in years fours, seven and 10 they get a new controller in a non-disruptive upgrade.

Pure Storage targets the high performance market with its FlashArray//X products, capacity deployments with FlashArray//C and analytics with FlashBlade. It also provides its Pure-as-a-Service SaaS offering and Pure Cloud Block Store.  A recent push is also towards containerisation, which saw Pure acquire Kubernetes persistent storage vendor Portworx for $370m late last year.

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