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Pure Storage flash array lines bulk up software

Purity 5 software for Pure Storage FlashArray adds active-active multisite replication and portable snapshots. Pure FlashBlade clusters now scale to 75 blades and five chassis.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pure Storage today kicked off its Pure Accelerate user conference with a raft of software enhancements to boost capacity, data protection and performance of its flagship FlashArray and newly launched FlashBlade systems.

The Purity FA 5 operating system upgrade for Pure Storage FlashArray adds support for multisite failover, portable snapshots and an open platform to run third-party applications. All-flash vendor Pure also unveiled a native DirectFlash nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) over fabrics hardware expansion shelf for its next-generation FlashArray//X model.

In addition, Pure scaled raw capacity fivefold to 4 PB on the NVMe-based FlashBlade product for file and object data, while introducing an "ultrafast" FlashBlade object store.

Supporting rapid software development directly on a Pure Storage flash array is a key development focus, said Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of marketing and products at Pure, based in Mountain View, Calif. The upgrades are designed for cloud-native application development, as well as integration with the public cloud.

"We're calling it new tier-one storage for the cloud era," he said.

Pure Storage customers can upgrade the storage in its arrays via Pure's optional Evergreen Storage subscription service, which supplies ongoing maintenance and rolling controller upgrades every three years. Customers in the Evergreen program can install a Pure Storage flash array on site, but the hardware is owned and maintained by Pure.

Clustering, replication, enhanced snapshots highlight updated Purity 5

Pure introduced more than two dozen software features in Purity and Pure 1 for FlashBlade today. Purity 5 ActiveCluster provides an active-active replication between at least two metro data centers stretched up to 150 miles apart. With metro clustering, the same storage volume runs in active mode on each array for live migration to support failover.

Enterprise customers can opt to asynchronously replicate snapshots globally to a third data center in any location. For high availability at the rack level, Purity 5 can deploy a single FlashArray and stretch it between different racks to cluster failover.

Pure's ActiveCluster embeds Pure1 Cloud Mediator, a virtual witness that eliminates the need for a third-party management server. Cloud Mediator arbitrates between Pure Storage flash array implementations when a link is lost. It is part of the vendor's Pure1 storage-as-a-service management suite.

Multisite functionality helps Pure customers maintain continuous operations and plugs a gap in its portfolio, said Eric Burgener, a research director for storage at analyst firm IDC.

"Pure now has a stretch cluster, which is clearly important for environments that need six nines of availability. This was a feature that was missing from Pure's offering. Customers need this functionality to be able keep things running at a metro site that's within 50 kilometers or so," Burgener said.

Pure Storage flash array-based snapshots were beefed up with the ability to port copies to heterogeneous physical targets and to Amazon Web Services (AWS) public cloud buckets. The Purity snapshot feature allows local snapshots to move between FlashArray and FlashBlade arrays or to an open NFS device.

Cloud Snap -- a disaster recovery feature -- will allow backup, restore and rehydration of snapshots in their native format to the AWS Simple Storage Service or Amazon Glacier. Customers don't need to mount snapshots on their Pure Storage flash array. The Pure Portable Snapshot format encapsulates snapshot metadata, which allows a copy to be migrated to the cloud and subsequently launched on other vendors' storage.

This is just the first step in our broader vision around integration with the public cloud. We're starting with backup workloads.
Matt Kixmoellervice president of marketing and products, Pure Storage

"This is just the first step in our broader vision around integration with the public cloud. We're starting with backup workloads. The second thing we'll do is migration of development workloads directly to [Amazon] Elastic Block Store, with on-prem deployment flexibility," Kixmoeller said.

Quality of service (QoS) was added in Purity 4 to address background resource contention. The latest release introduces the ability to vary QoS levels by performance level and set individual policies for each tenant on a FlashArray machine.

Purity Run is an open platform for running third-party apps as containers or virtual machines. Its purpose is to enable users to run analytics or processes close to the data. Microsoft Windows Storage Server for Purity is the first iteration, which will embed the Windows capabilities directly on Pure FlashArray. Pure also wrote its own vStorage APIs for Storage Awareness connector to support VMware VVOLs block storage directly on FlashArray.

On the hardware side, the DirectFlash NVMe expansion shelf for Pure Storage FlashArray//X supports 28 18.3 TB NVMe modules. When fully populated, customers can add 512 TB of raw storage and scale effective capacity up to 1.5 PB per shelf with data deduplication. DirectFlash software pools NVMe flash for shared storage via Remote Direct Memory Access over converged 40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

'Massive expansion' of FlashBlade supports 8 PB namespace

Pure Storage FlashBlade tackles file and object storage, as opposed to FlashArray, which is a block storage platform. Instead of solid-state drives, FlashBlade places custom-designed NAND flash-based modules directly on each blade. The system-on-a-chip design converges compute, flash storage and memory with a field programmable gate array and parallel Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

The 4U FlashBlade launched in beta in January, with 1.6 PB of usable NVMe flash per chassis. FlashBlade FB 2.0 scales to 75 blades and five chassis for 4 PB of raw storage per cluster. Based on Pure's presumed 3-to-1 data reduction, effective capacity scales to an 8 PB namespace that supports billions of files and objects.

FlashBlade is rated to deliver 70 Gbps of read performance and 20 Gbps of write performance, with up to 5 million IOPS. Pure also introduced a midrange 17 TB blade to complement its 8 TB and 52 TB options. Kixmoeller said the Pure1 software includes support for SMB 3 and other general-purpose workloads.

Fast Object Store resides atop Pure's native object storage architecture. Files and objects run in parallel on the system. Kixmoeller said it provides an "ultrafast" way to create applications in AWS and then run them locally for faster performance.

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