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Pure Storage customers can buy, rent and now lease products

Pure Storage unites disparate SaaS products under the new Evergreen umbrella and adds the Evergreen Flex tier as a lease-to-own option for hardware.

Pure Storage's subscription service for storage hardware and software is rebranding under the name Evergreen, and the vendor has added a tier enabling customers to choose a lease-to-own model for storage.

Evergreen Flex, the new subscription tier, offers customers a pay-as-you-go option for hardware while subscribing to software and services as needed. The company unveiled the new Evergreen addition and rebranding during the first day at Pure Accelerate Techfest22, which convened in Los Angeles and online.

Pure also rebranded its two existing subscriptions. Evergreen Forever, previously known as Evergreen Gold, offers a traditional customer-owned appliance and software subscription model incorporating contractual refreshes. Evergreen One, previously known as Pure as-a-Service, provides a cloudlike SaaS experience for customers that want to pay on demand for hardware and services without owning them. These products provide the same services and features as before.

Pure's commitment to flash memory provides customers with speedy access to data compared with non-flash vendors, but the question of whether Pure can compete with the capabilities and spending options offered by cloud providers remains, according to Ray Lucchesi, president and founder of Silverton Consulting.

"Pure has always been on the leading edge with respect to their storage arrays," Lucchesi said. "It's been a good sales tool. The big challenge for all these [vendors] is the cloud. They're trying to effectively provide services on premises that mimic the cloud."

Flexible spending

Evergreen Flex is designed for a more complex organizational paradigm compared with Evergreen Forever and Evergreen One, which provide Capex and Opex spending models respectively. Instead, customers can lease to own Pure Storage's array hardware and subscribe to additional software and services, according to Pure executives.

Evergreen Flex purchase agreements can result in a lower upfront purchase price of the hardware while enabling customers to grow or shrink their storage footprint as necessary. Agreement contracts for Flex start at three years and require minimum capacity commitments. Following the contract, the customer owns the hardware entirely.

Customers that require minimum service-level agreements or a purchasing experience akin to cloud hyperscalers are encouraged to invest in Evergreen One, according to Pure's marketing executives. Customers seeking a traditional Capex model continue to have Evergreen Forever as an option.

The Evergreen Flex model is comparable to services such as Dell Technologies' Apex or Hewlett Packard Enterprise's GreenLake, where customers can access a full suite of storage and data center capabilities as a service with the added benefit of owning the hardware outright, according to Pure execs.

Evergreen Flex can also use Pure Storage's Data Packs Mobility, a new service unveiled at the conference that enables data center administrators to move storage capacity across their Pure Storage hardware. The capability decouples storage capacity from physical hardware locations, enabling applications to tap into previously siloed Pure Storage hardware without breaking contract or requiring additional purchases.

Data Packs Mobility is available currently for FlashArray//C and FlashArray//X models with additional hardware support coming soon. The service costs depend on the specific hardware model.

The combination of malleable licensing and hardware interoperability can make a compelling sales pitch to storage administrators attempting to balance ongoing hardware refreshes with the occasional flurry of higher storage demands, according to Chris Evans, analyst at Architecting IT.

"It gives [customers] the ability to be more flexible, to move around the hardware and to stay within the license," Evans said. "I'm not aware of any other vendor who has come up with a solution that can do that."

Storage administrators can avoid the risk of overbuying, a common pitfall with cloud services, and stay within their budgets by following required asset purchasing standards with Flex, Evans said.

Gnarled roots

Evergreen Flex may offer a more flexible approach to buying Pure Storage products, but the change in branding and the similarity in naming conventions across numerous as-a-service portfolios could lead to market confusion, said Dave Raffo, a senior analyst at Evaluator Group.

People are still trying to get their heads around as a service. [But] all the storage vendors are in agreement that people want as a service.
Dave RaffoSenior analyst, Evaluator Group

That confusion worsens when considering the sheer number of cloud services and providers. Even if a customer has a particular vendor in mind, the similarities in features, capabilities and pricing all contribute to a similar-sounding morass of products, Raffo said.

"People are still trying to get their heads around as a service," Raffo said. "[But] all the storage vendors are in agreement that people want as a service."

While Evergreen Flex provides a hybrid Capex-Opex buying and ownership model, it will likely muddy the waters on who ultimately makes buying decisions, Raffo said.

"Part of that is the CIO's job, while the other is under the CFO's banner," he said.

In addition, Pure Storage faces competition against similar boutique high-speed storage vendors such as Vast. But it also more directly competes with and beats out traditional hardware and hard drive vendors such as Dell, Lucchesi said.

"I don't think they're [as] high performance compared to Vast and those kinds of [vendors]," he said, "but they're up there with the rest of the big enterprise storage [vendors]."

Tim McCarthy is a journalist living on the North Shore of Massachusetts. He covers cloud and data storage news.

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