All-flash vendor Pure Storage has made its first move into the converged infrastructure market with its new FlashStack CI solutions.
“We are introducing a new set of solutions which represent the evolution of flash in the data centre,” said Matt Kixmoeller, Pure’s VP of Marketing and Product Management. “We want to broaden the appeal of flash and move it from the performance market to mainstream storage.”
Kixmoeller said that both customers and partners had asked them for more of a converged infrastructure model. The first configurations Pure is announcing now combine their FlashArray 400 Series arrays with Cisco UCS Blade Servers, Cisco Nexus switches, VMware vSphere 5 and VMware Horizon 6, to form two turnkey, flash-powered infrastructure stacks, a server virtualization one for vSphere and a desktop virtualization one for Horizon. Both solutions also include 24/7/365 single-call support delivered through Pure Storage FlashStack Authorized Support.
These new converged offerings are still entirely flash-storage based, rather than hybrids, Kixmoeller said.
“They are 100 per cent flash, intended to get customers on converged infrastructure platforms to move to all-flash converged infrastructure, and to get the disks out of the way,” he said. “They are fully tested solutions which reduce risk and complexity, and consolidate hundreds of enterprise class VMs in one FlashStack.”
“We are really targeting consolidation platforms that can run multiple workloads,” said Joel McKelvey, who handles Pure’s virtualization and cloud solution marketing efforts. “The best practices have been to isolate these workloads, but with flash you don’t need to isolate these any more. We bring operational simplicity to the converged infrastructure space that makes its core value better.”
Pure sells entirely through its channel partners, and Kixmoeller said that its partners are extremely excited about this initiative. A new program for FlashStack Authorized Support Partners has been created within the overall Pure P3 partner program. FlashStack ASPs need to be fully certified to sell and support Cisco, VMware and Pure Storage technologies, and be able to offer single-call, 24/7/365 Level 1 and Level 2 support. This means that initially, the number of partners involved will be comparatively small, and will be elite partners who already have the necessary support structure in place.
“It will be a small subset of our most capable partners out there, who have practices and a level of competency to support the entire stack, and who are certified by all three vendors,” Kixmoeller said. “Right now, we are talking in the tens of partners globally who would be qualified. It’s a limited number, but they are very important to our business.” Their launch partner in the U.S. at launch is Datalink.
“We will eventually add a distribution tier for those who can handle the end-to-end solution,” Kixmoeller added.
Kixmoeller said that Pure’s existing market consists of three use cases, which are pretty equally divided – database acceleration, private clouds with virtualization, and VDI – and that FlashStack is a great use for the last two.
“We see a very high attachment to the core Pure business, because customers who are first adopters also tend to buy the best servers and get heavily into virtualization,” he said.
McKelvey indicated that another market will be organizations who already have converged infrastructure, but who are frustrated with disk limitations.
“Pure’s economics are very difficult to meet, which makes us difficult to compete against when we go head to head on flash,” he said. “Where Pure shines is the ability of to get to price parity with spinning disk solutions in CAPEX, and over time space and cooling savings drive TCO down as well.”
Pure intends to roll out more FlashStack solutions, and while the first two use Cisco and VMware as partners, the later ones will broaden out.
“It won’t always be just VMware and Cisco,” McKelvey said. “There is a road map to take it to others. It won’t be restricted to just those two because customers want a heterogeneous multi-hypervisor environment.”