Pure Storage joins OpenStack Foundation, announces two OpenStack solutions

Pure sees OpenStack as providing a great services opportunity to help customers adapt OpenStack for private clouds, since it is necessary to help them adapt OpenStack to different customer circumstances.

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Vaughn Stewart, Pure Storage’s Chief Technical Evangelist

Mountain View CA-based all-flash vendor Pure Storage has joined the OpenStack Foundation as a corporate sponsor and contributor, and will contribute its work and platform enhancements back to the open source community. Pure also announced immediate availability of two solutions for OpenStack. One is a new OpenStack Cinder Driver that provides expanded storage performance, functionality and management simplicity for deploying cloud services on the OpenStack platform. The other is a Python Automation Toolkit that lets users create advanced storage workflows beyond OpenStack’s Cinder Block Storage services, like automation of snapshot policies, replication, IO statistics, and capacity management. Together, these solutions enable Pure’s FlashArray to more tightly integrate with OpenStack.

The timing was right for Pure Storage to formally come over to the OpenStack camp.

“From a market perspective, we believe OpenStack is viewed as a market leader in automating cloud infrastructure,” said Vaughn Stewart, Pure’s Chief Technical Evangelist. “This market hasn’t matured as fast as many expected, as VMware and Citrix are still struggling here. We have been waiting to see what vendor would take the lead. We have seen a surge in adoption last 18-24 months, and we believe OpenStack has reached the necessary market maturation. You would be hard pressed to find a major vendor today who doesn’t have an OpenStack distribution, either internally developed or obtained through acquisition, and this should allow for increased adoption.”

“We have had an increasing number of requests from customers for deeper and wider OpenStack support,” said Brian Schwartz, Director of Product Management at Pure Storage.

As a startup, Pure also had financial and market strategy considerations which mitigated against making an earlier commitment to OpenStack.

“Pure also has had to make investments with a limited set of resources,” Stewart said. “However, our recent rounds of funding allowed us to complete key integrations with VMware and Microsoft which had immediate sales opportunities, which are necessary for us. OpenStack is a longer term investment, which we are now able to make.”

Pure had made a contribution to OpenStack before, having released an earlier Cinder Driver for the Purity OE so customers could integrate Pure. Cinder is the infrastructure for managing block-based storage in OpenStack. OpenStack’s release last week of its new Juno distribution has led to the release of a new Pure Cinder Driver, which comes with every Pure FlashArray at no additional cost.

“This new Driver brings the technology forward to meet the new requirements of Juno, which includes a new set of volume commands,” Schwartz said. It does however also support the previous Openstack OE, Icehouse.

The second new solution is the Python Automation Toolkit for Advanced Storage Workflows. Python is an open source programming language which assists in achieving extended storage automation. When used in conjunction with the new Pure Storage Cinder Driver, the Python Automation Toolkit provides enhanced out of the box automation and extends the functionality of Cinder.

“This allows FlashArray customers to extend data management capabilities and move into backup and recovery policies in their OpenStack deployments,” Stewart said.

Schwartz said that Pure’s commitment to OpenStack will remain strong.

“We will commit to keeping it up, and they generally have a new release every six months,” he said. “This isn’t a flash in the pan where we dip our toe in and then disappear.”

Much of the recent OpenStack adoption Pure has seen is among larger customers.

“As we have talked to our customers, we have seen pickup in key industry segments like web properties,” Stewart said. “We have also seen it in some of the large enterprise customers like financials and industrials with heavy private cloud initiatives. These are typically companies who started with Amazon and have acquired scale to now do cloud internally. There are not a lot of these customers, but they skew to the larger side of customer base and are building out their own private clouds.”

Pure also sees Openstack as creating significant new opportunities for Pure channel partners.

“There is a great services opportunity to help customers adapt OpenStack for private clouds,” Stewart said. “It is necessary to help customers adopt and adapt OpenStack to different customer circumstances. While our focus is naturally on storage, there are also network application and server aspects of it which are a natural play for channel partners.”

“Enterprise customers want to transition their IT departments and OpenStack helps drive agility into the compute layers,” Schwartz said. “Partners have a significant opportunity to maintain their trusted advisory role here by helping customers achieve their cloud initiatives.”

The Pure Storage OpenStack Cinder Driver and Python Automation Toolkit are available for download now. They are fully compatible with Purity 3.4 and all subsequent releases. Documentation for the Purity OE REST API is included with every FlashArray.