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Pure FlashBlade//S and Evergreen//Flex boost as-a-service push

FlashBlade//S brings two new arrays in which customers can upgrade controllers and capacity, while //Flex allows capacity to be bought and moved across any QLC or TLC Pure array

Pure Storage has launched FlashBlade//S, in which controller hardware is now upgradeable independently from flash storage capacity.

The company also announced Evergreen//Flex at its Accelerate event this week, marking a significant addition to its Evergreen consumption model.

Flex allows customers to specify, pay for and move data between storage capacity on any of its arrays, as long as it’s of the same flash type (QLC, TLC).

FlashBlade//S comes in two models. The S200 emphasises capacity, with data reduction, while the S500 goes for performance.

The new models are completely modularised, with controller hardware and Pure’s Direct Flash Module capacity both upgradeable.

“That makes it Evergreen-upgradeable,” said Pure’s FlashBlade vice-president, Amy Fowler. “Currently, controllers are wedded to blades. FlashArray customers can get the latest controllers every three years, but that wasn’t possible for FlashBlade. Now it is with FlashBlade//S.”

FlashBlade is Pure’s fast file and object family, which unifies file access and object storage in a single array to provide rapid access to large-capacity storage. It is aimed at what have traditionally been secondary storage use cases – backup, archive, analytics datastores – but which have evolved to require rapid input/output for analysis, recovery and so on.

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FlashBlade is all-QLC, with no extreme-performance storage-class memory (SCM) layer on top to handle metadata. Instead, metadata is held on QLC drives, but with a distributed scheme that allows part of the QLC drive to be configured like SLC flash.

“It’s all done on the QLC flash chip,” said Pure digital experience business unit general manager, Prakash Darji. “We deploy a capacity segment that works like SLC, with distributed metadata, formatting the capacity so there’s no dependence on SCM.”

“The S200 can address 95% of existing user needs,” said Fowler. “The S500 will deliver something of a higher level, aimed at, for example, chip design, simulation-like, kdb+ in financial services.”

Pure also announced that current FlashBlade customers get to upgrade to FlashBlade//S via Evergreen.

Meanwhile, the announcement of Evergreen//Flex was billed by Darji as “a moment as big as or bigger than the introduction of Evergreen”.

Evergreen is Pure’s set of consumption model offerings, which range from hardware upgrades to full as-a-service.

Pay-as-you-go capacity

Flex is aimed at the higher end of enterprise users, who might have a number of Pure Storage arrays. Its model is one in which hardware is purchased but capacity is bought on a pay-as-you-go basis. The idea is that capacity can be specified and paid for, and delivered on any Pure hardware assets that can host it.

Darji said it is especially suited to MSPs with multiple appliances and “unlocking stranded capacity”. So, Flex would allow them to deploy and use capacity in any of their arrays.

“Today in Evergreen Gold/Forever, if you use capacity in a box or appliance, you pay at the rate of that appliance,” he said. “The Flex construct allows you to buy capacity and deploy it where you need it.

“Would Dell allow you to deploy across Isilon and PowerMax? It wouldn’t even be technically possible.

“It is 100% meant for customers operating at scale with fleets of resources, and to enable them to unlock capacity. It’s a new capability that doesn’t exist in the industry today.”

At the same time, Pure has rebranded its other Evergreen offerings. In addition to Flex, Evergreen Forever – which is customer purchase with lifetime upgrades – now becomes Gold, and Pure-as-a-service, which is at the other end of the continuum in terms of ownership – in other words, it is an as-a-service hardware offering – now becomes Evergreen One.

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