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Pure Storage FlashBlade anchors B2B marketer's Azure cloud

Digital marketing specialist MultiView deployed a physical Pure Storage FlashBlade for production data, with the ability to consume all-flash storage as a virtual array in Azure.

Digital marketing company MultiView is using Pure Storage FlashBlade to methodically implement cloud storage.

The Irving, Texas-based business-to-business specialist provides advertising-related services to more than 1,200 industry and professional associations. Facing rapid data growth, the company needed primary storage with high availability for its end users. Most important, the storage system needed to flexibly convert to secondary cloud storage in Microsoft Azure, enabling MultiView to retire its disaster recovery site in the future.

"We want to move away from having two data centers: one for production and one for DR, with failover, backup and all the resiliency that entails. We want to have our cake and eat it too," said Sean McPartlin, MultiView's director of infrastructure operations.

Figuring out the cloud

MultiView deployed a physical all-flash Pure Storage FlashBlade system in its main data center for scale-out capacity. Pure Storage all-flash is a key ingredient as MultiView transitions its VMware environment to Microsoft Azure Stack HCI, based on the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor, McPartlin said.

Pure Storage arrays are equipped with the vendor's custom DirectFlash NAND modules in place of SATA and SAS SSDs. Although designed for unstructured storage, file backup and data protection have emerged as common FlashBlade use cases. MultiView purchased a FlashBlade system with Pure FlashRecover, based on Cohesity DataProtect software-defined backup technology.

Pure arrays use a cacheless flash architecture for low-latency storage, a departure from disk-based NAS systems that parallelize throughput by aggregating multiple nodes. McPartlin said MultiView chose Pure Storage arrays to enable hybrid cloud capability and embrace pay-per-use consumption.

Sean McPartlin, MultiViewSean McPartlin

MultiView launched a proof of concept about four years ago in AWS to "see how public cloud fit into our business," McPartlin said. The company decided it made sense to use the cloud, but not for backup. Instead, MultiView wanted to point primary data at the public cloud and tier backups to physical storage.

After paying an average of $40,000 a month for storage in AWS, MultiView switched to Azure Stack. The move helped cut licensing fees in half, money McPartlin used to acquire the Pure Storage array.

"This is a larger endeavor that hinges on our enterprise Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM products. We have one of the largest installs of Microsoft CRM in the United States, due to just how many contacts we have inside CRM," McPartlin said.

We want to move away from having two data centers: one for production and one for DR, with failover, backup and all the resiliency that entails.
Sean McPartlinDirector of infrastructure operations, MultiView

MultiView: Azure, Pure to switch roles

Pure Storage became part of the equation due to its flexibility, McPartlin said. MultiView uses FlashBlade for on-premises production data now, but Pure gives him the capability to shift part of all the capacity for consumption as a virtual array attached to an Azure license.

"In the beginning phase, we're going to treat Azure as our DR center. We will have a [Pure Storage FlashBlade] production array on prem and will be doing RAID array replication to sync resources to Azure, just like we do today with replication between data centers," he said. "Our intention over the long term is to flip that around, making Azure the primary running location and using the physical Pure equipment as our emergency DR."

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