Brent Allen, Pure’s Canadian country manager, thanked Pure’s customers and partners for their partnership, and talked with ChannelBuzz about the company’s progress in Canada.
TORONTO – Pure Storage recently held their largest event yet in Toronto, at the Cabana Pool Bar on the waterfront. The Summer Splash event was held both to show appreciation to the members of Pure’s Canadian ecosystem, and to preview the company’s big annual event, Pure Accelerate, which this year is being held in Austin, Texas, from September 15 to September 18.
“Summer Splash is our appreciation day for our clients, prospects and customers,” said Brent Allen, Pure Storage Canada’s country manager. “It’s a shout-out to them.”
The well-attended event, sponsored by Veeam, had a particularly large partner turnout, with teams showing up from Softchoice, SHI, and Scalar, among others.
“This is twice the size of the boat cruise event we did two years ago,” Allen said. “At this one, we planned for 400, and there were over 600 registered. There were some walk-ins as well, because we closed registration two days ago when we topped 600.”
Pure Storage began a focused selling strategy into Canada in 2015, and made a major enhancement of their investment here in 2017. Allen, who had been with Cisco Canada for years, was hired in March 2017 as Pure’s first Canadian country manager. Jill Martin was also hired shortly afterwards as Pure’s first Canadian channel manager.
“In Canada, we continue to make investments in sales and in R&D,” Allen said. “We have had a little over 3x increase in growth in staff since I joined.” They have an office in Vancouver, around the R&D team, which handles Pure’s integration work with VMware.
Allen kicked off the event with what he accurately promised would be a short speech to the partners and customers, giving a quick overview of Pure’s accomplishments over the past year, where the company met its billion-dollar revenue goal.
“We have a Net Promoter Score of 86.6 compared to industry average of 24, and our score is in the top 1% of B2B companies,” Allen said. “We have been in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for the past five years and are proud of our place in the leader’s quadrant. In the first quarter of 2019, we posted year-over year growth of 28%, continuing to show strong growth in our market.
“Our first differentiation is that we put the customer first with everything that we do,” Allen told the crowd. “Our second is that we are a channel first and only organization. Without your help taking our messaging to the client, we would not have achieved the success we have to date.”
When Pure originally came out of stealth back in 2011, it was an on-prem storage company, but with the growth of the cloud, they have aggressively positioned themselves there, and Pure’s cloud value proposition was central to Allen’s talk.
“Over the last couple of years, what we have seen is that since the big cloud providers have built infrastructures in Canada, customers have begun talking about a cloud strategy, with some being more further advanced than others,” he said. “Our cloud partnerships and hybrid cloud models help them move in a simple manner without having to re-platform to get there.”
Pure’s ES2 [Evergreen Storage Service] is a key part of this, providing storage-as-a-service on an OPEX model for private and hybrid clouds. ES2 was first introduced in May 2018 for on-prem deployments, and in April of this year was expanded into hybrid environments, as well as for backup data.
“It is on the customer premise, but it is truly a utility model,” Allen said. “At the end of the day, the infrastructure on-prem is still owned by Pure and we deliver it back to the customer on a price per GB for only the data that they use.”
“Our original Evergreen [a program which upgrades in place over time as needed without forklift upgrades, downtime or performance impact] has always sold well here, and some of our initial customers in Canada for that are now seeing their three-year renewals come up,” Allen indicated. “We are delivering their controller refreshes through Evergreen, and the customers who bought that are very pleased. ES2 is complementary to Evergreen.”
AWS is a key partner for Pure in the cloud. Last November, Pure announced Pure Storage Cloud Block Store for AWS, which puts the Pure Cloud Block Store code and features from on-prem FlashArray into an EC2 instance in AWS.
“If the customer wants to move to AWS, they just come to us and we work from the background to make it happen,” Allen said. “AWS is our first cloud Go-to-Market partner, but it’s reasonable to believe that others will be coming in the future.”
Pure also emphasized the simplicity of its products, something that has always been central to their value proposition, and one which has gotten even greater emphasis as the company has explained their platforms.
“The Purity OS management is the same regardless of the platform, and they are all managed in the same way,” Allen said. “They all call home the same, so there is no learning curve and no data migration required. We just did a migration from the old M20 series [an OEM on Dell hardware, which was the original Go-to-Market] to the X50. We started at noon and left the building at 2:04, heaving done a completely non-disruptive migration. We can also mix and match flash and NVMe media in the same chassis.”
Shawn Rosemarin, Pure’s Vice President of Worldwide Systems Engineering, was tasked with detailing the company’s products and strategy in the minimum amount of time so that attendees could head to the food and entertainment outside.
“If there’s one thing you take away from ‘why Pure,’ it’s one word – simple,” Rosemarin said. “We are dead simple. I have been in the infrastructure world for 22 years. When I was selling against Pure, I said they can’t possibly be that simple. Now that I’m here, I have rolled up the covers, and I can tell you, it is that simple. If your number one desire is to keep your storage team busy, simple might not be the thing for you!”
Rosemarin also emphasized that this simplicity adapts seamlessly to the cloud.
“You want agility to put things where it works best, and you want a partner who can scale with you – on prem, in the cloud or hybrid,” he told the audience. “What we propose is the simplicity of the Purity OS, and the Pure1 Management stack is now there in the cloud. Our software functions completely independent of the hardware. I can bring software-defined to the different public clouds because I know how their infrastructure will deploy in each, and can tune the software for it.
“What we can do with our cloud data services is extend our Infrastructure-as-a-Service to overcome cloud divide – where the enterprise is not very cloudy, and the cloud is not very enterprisey,” Rosemarin added.
Rosemarin also highlighted Pure Storage Cloud Data Services, which went into beta three months ago.
“It will go to GA in the next couple months,” he said.
“If there’s nothing else you leave with on top of simple, remember Evergreen,” Rosemarin stated. “We refresh on-prem after three years, so you will never do another forklift. And with ES2 we have this for hybrid as well.”
Allen concluded his prepared remarks with a call to action to attend the company’s upcoming Accelerate event for customers and partners. Up until now, Pure’s big annual show has been in its home base of San Francisco, and in the spring.
“That’s been great for our customers and partners on the west coast,’ Allen noted. This year, however, they are making it a little easier for people in the east, including Toronto, to attend, which is why Accelerate is in Austin, in the fall.
“Accelerate is a great opportunity to learn more about the company and its direction,” he said. Among the reasons to go is that this is the first time at Accelerate that Pure will be doing on-site training for partners and customers. Over 130 breakouts are scheduled at the event.