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FlashBlade//E to open up new opportunities in Australia

Pure Storage’s FlashBlade//E will enable the storage supplier to target medical imaging and remote backup workloads and attract new customers in Australia

Pure Storage’s all-flash strategy has previously catered for the performance end of the storage market, but its new FlashBlade//E can displace hard disk arrays for workloads involving unstructured data storage, such as data lakes, and data protection and imaging repositories.

Amy Rushall, the supplier’s area vice-president for Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), said when she joined the company seven years ago that achieving the US$1 per gigabyte price point for flash storage was exciting, but FlashBlade//E represents “an incredible opportunity” with its acquisition cost of US$0.20 per gigabyte before data reduction, including three years of service.

“This gives us a new addressable market, something that we just couldn’t touch before,” said Rushall. “Our dream of getting to the all-flash data centre is coming true.”

In Australia, “this is going to open up those workloads where we couldn’t necessarily compete on price…anything in the unstructured data space – data lakes, data protection. Now we have an answer for them,” she added.

Rushall noted that some organisations are also repatriating public cloud workloads to on-premise systems for cost reasons, adding that FlashBlade//E “will be the opportunity for us to provide a product where they could potentially bring workloads back from the likes of Glacier…and put them on Pure”.

More importantly, FlashBlade//E offers an opportunity for Pure Storage to attract new customers. Rushall said for some people, storage is like a religion, making them reluctant to move their tier-one applications from the incumbent storage vendor.

But with the pricing of FlashBlade//E, Rushall believes they are more likely to bet on Pure Storage for tier-three applications, opening doors to organisations that the company has previously been unable to penetrate. “They’ll get started with Pure, they’ll like it, and hopefully they’ll buy all the other stuff we have to offer as well,” she said.

FlashBlade//E will be pitched largely on its low total cost of ownership (TCO), contribution to sustainability goals through low power consumption, and its ability to ease the load on datacentre space, power and cooling. All of those are important factors in the local context, Rushall said.

Matt Oostveen, Pure Storage’s vice-president and chief technology officer in Asia-Pacific and Japan, said the release of FlashBlade//E marks the inflection point between disk and flash storage.

The new array provides “better economics than disks” with a 40% lower TCO over six years, he said, and – like other Pure storage systems – allows nondisruptive upgrades.

Compared with disk-based systems, FlashBlade//E uses as little as one-fifth the power, occupies one-fifth as much space, is between 10 and 20 times more reliable, and has 60% lower operating costs, yet delivers similar performance, the company claimed.

With unstructured data in the enterprise space growing at a blistering pace and sustainability becoming a key business imperative for Asia-Pacific CIOs, the new platform will deliver compelling economic value and technology advantage for rapidly growing organisations in the digital space
Rajnish Arora, IDC Asia-Pacific

Since storage systems account for between 20-25% of datacentre power consumption, and in some cases as much as 40%, the new product has the potential to reduce electricity bills by a significant amount, as well as allowing more data to be stored within the power and space budgets of a given datacentre.

A basic FlashBlade//E configuration comprises one control chassis (containing blades that combine compute and storage functionality, as they do in the performance-oriented FlashBlade//S) and one expansion chassis containing storage-only blades, for a total of 4PB (each chassis contains 40 Pure-designed 48TB direct flash modules). This use of storage-only blades contributes to the relatively low cost per gigabyte.

A second expansion chassis can be added for a total of 6PB. Pure Storage expects FlashBlade//E systems to scale up to 10 chassis in the near term.

Oostveen said Pure Storage has also been investing in research and development to improve storage densities, which could outstrip the forecast tenfold growth in capacity requirements by 2030. When that happens, most organisations can expect their physical storage footprint to shrink over time.

Furthermore, he predicted that the TCO of Pure Storage’s all-flash system will be less than the acquisition cost of comparable disk-based systems by 2025.

For existing customers, FlashBlade//E is managed in the same way as other Pure Storage devices, with greater reliability compared with disk-based storage, enabling fewer people to look after a given amount of storage.

FlashBlade//E will be generally available by the end of April 2023. In addition to outright purchase, it will be available as the new efficiency tier of Pure Storage Evergreen//One storage as-a-service subscriptions.

Rajnish Arora, IDC Asia-Pacific vice-president for enterprise infrastructure, said: “Pure Storage is once again throwing down the gauntlet in the all-flash storage market with the introduction of FlashBlade//E.

“With unstructured data in the enterprise space growing at a blistering pace and sustainability becoming a key business imperative for Asia-Pacific CIOs, the new platform will deliver compelling economic value and technology advantage for rapidly growing organisations in the digital space.”

Because of the volume of data involved, the storage for unstructured data workloads takes up a lot of space in datacentres – often measured in rows rather than racks. So, the high density of FlashBlade//E can make a big difference, Rushall said, especially as “people certainly don’t delete data”. 

In addition to organisations storing large amounts of their own data, Rushall sees remote backup providers as potential customers, noting that managed service providers that deploy FlashBlade//E with data protection technologies from the likes of Veeam, Commvault and Cohesity can expect to improve their returns on investment.

With data protection, “it’s all about what happens on the restore, so our ability to do that at a dramatically faster pace really helps a data protection scenario”, she said.

Healthcare – more specifically medical imaging – is another area that provides opportunities for FlashBlade//E in Australia, given the rapid growth in the amount of data under management plus reliability issues with incumbent products, along with organisations that require on-premise cold data storage for analytics applications, Rushall suggested. “I’m sure there will be a number of use cases that…customers bring to the table that we can address.”

Read more about data storage in ANZ

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