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Replication highlights Pure Storage FlashBlade OS update

Pure Storage Purity v3 adds snapshots for file and object data between FlashBlade arrays and Amazon S3 buckets. Replication matches functionality in Pure FlashArray block storage.

All-flash pioneer Pure Storage has rounded out data protection for FlashBlade via a major operating system upgrade.

The latest release of Purity operating software replicates files and objects across cloud-based and physical Pure Storage FlashBlade targets. The Purity//FB 3.0 OS enhancements target analytics and high-performance databases applications.

Pure Storage introduced FlashBlade in 2016 as primary storage for webscale unstructured data workloads. The NAS array complements the Pure Storage FlashArray flagship SAN array. FlashBlade also provides the storage in Pure AIRI supercomputing AI array designed with Nvidia GPUs.

Unlike FlashArray, which uses standard SSDs, FlashBlade's system-on-a-chip massively parallelizes data with Pure's DirectFlash custom NAND modules. Although initially intended for analytics of unstructured data, backup emerged as an unexpected FlashBlade customer use case.

Pure Storage FlashArray customers can replicate data between physical arrays, but that feature was lacking in FlashBlade until now. Steve McDowell, a storage analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy in Austin, Texas, said the market for Pure FlashBlade has shifted from primarily a disaster recovery and rapid restore platform to storage for enterprise analytics.

"This has been driven by the quick adoption of object storage by most of the major analytics and data warehouse [products] on the market, coupled with the scalability of FlashBlade's native object storage stack," McDowell said.

Snapshots for modern applications

The Purity FlashBlade file replication mirrors the data protection of Pure FlashArray. Read-only file data at the replication site enables data validation for disaster recovery tests at secondary data centers. Replicating files will help qualify a broader range of modern applications, said Brian Schwarz, a Pure Storage vice president of product management.

"We pride ourselves on ease of use and simplicity. With file replication, we followed the spirit of how we do asynchronous data protection on FlashArray. We used the same [engineering] skeleton and the same operating process" to design Purity 3.0, Schwarz said.

File storage uses a file system to support billions of files, similar to the way a desktop stores data in folders. The data includes POSIX files, and all files appear in one namespace for sharing data between multiple nodes.

Object storage is also massively scalable with a unified namespace, but it does not require a dedicated file system. The objects mainly include video, streaming media and other forms of unstructured data.

The Purity object replication allows a data center to deploy snapshots as an operational expense. Pure replicates objects between geographically dispersed FlashBlade arrays and also to the public cloud using the Amazon S3 protocol.  Customers who license Pure-as-a-Service on demand can replicate objects between Amazon S3 and physical FlashBlade targets.

"The ability to replicate to S3 is a big win, giving users an easy path to migrate data to the cloud for both archiving and cloud-based workloads," McDowell said.

Other enhancements to Purity include point-in-time snapshot recovery with File system Rollback and stronger security steps, including Kerberos authentication for NFS 4.1 and improved auditing and Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) support.

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