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Pure Storage adds cloud disaster recovery SaaS for VMs

VSphere VMs can recover from AWS EC2 instances with a new disaster recovery service from Pure Storage. The vendor is also debuting new energy efficiency guarantees.

Flash memory specialist Pure Storage is wading into the disaster recovery business for virtual machine workloads to complement the company's container protection suite, Portworx.

Pure Protect DRaaS is the vendor's new disaster recovery-as-a-service offering enabling enterprises to replicate on-premises VMware vSphere VMs to the cloud as EC2 instances in AWS. Customers can then convert these instances back to vSphere VMs to restore on-premises operations.

Spokespeople for Pure Storage stress the service is purely for disaster recovery, enabling recovery of infrastructure, and provides no native backup capabilities.

Krista Macomber, an analyst at Futurum Group, said the vendor is distinguishing among specific data management roles and customers will need comprehensive services for both data backup and DR. 

"They're different use cases and provide different RPOs and RTOs," Macomber said. "You're going to want both."

The DRaaS debuts today alongside new environmental, social and corporate governance and energy consumption guarantees and policy management features. Certain tiers of service now offer customers direct payment by Pure based on estimated hardware power consumption.

Hybrid protection

Pure Protect//DRaaS lets customers create multiple restore points and clean EC2 environments for disaster recovery. The service is available to purchase separately from Pure Storage and priced according to total TB monitored by vSphere. Future updates will support vSphere-to-vSphere replication, according to the company.

This isn't Pure's first dip into data protection: The company's Portworx SaaS suite, acquired by Pure in 2020, provides backup and recovery services for Kubernetes containers.

Like Pure's commitment to flash storage for data center hardware, its commitment to containers was slightly ahead of the market, said Christophe Bertrand, an analyst at TechTarget's Enterprise Strategy Group. VMs and hybrid cloud have a massive presence in the enterprise with VMware's technology still forming the backbone of most IT stacks, he said.

"Containers are accelerating in terms of adoption … but that's going to take many years to evolve," Bertrand said. "The reality of the market is [enterprises are] are using a combination of containers and VMs."

They don't want to look like they're providing a solution you might see from Rubrik, Cohesity or even [Dell] Data Domain.
Brent EllisAnalyst, Forrester Research

Pure Storage has maintained strong partnerships with data backup companies and likely doesn't want to sour relationships as its hardware powers those companies' offerings, said Brent Ellis, an analyst at Forrester Research.

"They're trying to be very careful," Ellis said. "They don't want to look like they're providing a solution you might see from Rubrik, Cohesity or even [Dell] Data Domain."

Bertrand said Pure will need to be careful in how it markets the service.

Backups can be defined as creating copies of data available for recovery regardless of speed, he said. Disaster recovery is about maintaining a continuity of IT functionality and service, possibly using backups and other sites. A faster turnaround time is typically required, as customer-facing components cannot suffer extended outages for business survival.

However, customers can have their own understanding of these terms, which can be further clouded by vendor marketing.

"People are confused. There's a sentiment that [backup and disaster recovery] are very vendor defined," Bertrand said.

Go green to get green

Pure Storage also debuted new energy and power guarantees for varying levels of hardware commitments, as well as new additions to customer consoles focused on hardware lifecycle management.

Customers buying Pure Evergreen//One, the vendor's hardware and SaaS subscription, will receive a one-time, upfront payment based on estimated kilowatts per hour and other power consumption metrics that Pure anticipates its hardware will use in the customer's data center. This payment can be received as either cash or service credits, and is available to all new or renewing purchases starting Tuesday.

Other customer purchase options, including Evergreen//Flex and Evergreen//Forever, now have energy-efficiency and capacity density guarantees from Pure. If the guaranteed watts per tebibyte or TiB per rack isn't met, the vendor will pick up the difference.

Mike Matchett, founder and IT analyst at Small World Big Data, said these contracts provide a standard to which Pure can hold itself and the industry.

"It's more directly called out in contracts. It starts to put power consumption front and center," he said.

Console additions include asset and subscription tracking as well as management capabilities, primarily to let customers know when a renewal or payment is due, alongside a Data Resiliency Score capability to indicate the level of data protection under which customers are operating.

Tim McCarthy is a journalist from the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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