Pure Storage adds file and object replication to Flashblade with Purity 3.0 release

Purity 3.0 also adds Filesystem Rollback, leverages Pure's SafeMode functionality to enable the fast recovery of File systems from snapshots.

Today, Pure Storage is announcing a major upgrade to their FlashBlade scale-out file and object storage solution. With the Purity 3.0 release, FlashBlade adds the ability to provide file and object replication. That’s something that is already in their other product line, the FlashArray//X, and indeed, in most modern storage systems. Making it available in FlashBlade was more of an engineering challenge because of the size of the data sets it handles. The other major feature addition is File System Rollback, which is designed as an anti-ransomware measure.

“The anchor of this announcement is the new version of our Purity software, version 3.0 , with the two forms of replication for file and object,” said Brian Schwarz, Vice President of Product Management for FlashBlade at Pure Storage. “This makes FlashBlade qualified for a new set of Tier One workloads.”

Schwarz emphasized that the trends, traction and momentum around modern analytics with companies like Splunk, Elastic, and Vertica are driving larger workloads to object storage in general and to Pure Storage in particular.

“A number of apps are moving to moving object storage as their primary storage, and moving to FlashBlade because we support file and object at same time on the same platform,” he said.

“Splunk has been increasingly been using back end object storage, so has been a good growth area for us,” he indicated. “The diversity of the analytics apps continues to increase, as they go through the transition from file to object storage.”

Schwarz said that FlashBlade’s customer base is in medium sized enterprises and upwards, and includes companies with a lot of innovation innovation going on who are still startups. Their customers range from the Pasteur Institute in France,  which has done medical research since 1887, to Montreal-based artificial intelligence company Element AI.

“Frost Bank, a mid-sized bank in Texas, has been a FlashBlade customer for four years, with four years of 100% uptime on eight arrays, and 600 GB of Splunk data ingested per day,” he stated.

The FlashBlade Purity 3.0 enhancements are designed to support these sorts of customers with modern application development, modern analytics and next-generation data protection.

The file replication uses snapshot-based asynchronous replication to facilitate disaster recover of file systems.

“It is very similar to what we have already done on the FlashArray product,” Schwarz said. “Customers want this capability, even through they generally only replicate the top 10% of apps. Larger data sets like we have in FlashBlade are  problematic in moving even in the most sophisticated environment, and the larger the data set is, the more complex it is to replicate. So this was a significant engineering accomplishment. FlashArray, in contrast, is in much smaller VM environments, and even there only about 30-40 of customers use the replication.”

The object replication works slightly differently.

“It uses Amazon S3 protocol and can be replicated between two FlashBlades, or FlashBlade to AWS S3,” Schwarz said.

“The bonus of replication for the channel is that it will allow them to sell two arrays, whereas before they would just have sold one,” Schwarz noted.Both the file and object storage replication are covered by Pure’s Evergreen Storage ownership model.

The other notable new feature in 3.0 is Filesystem Rollback, which enables the fast recovery of File systems from snapshots.

“There is one special feature we did for ransomware – SafeMode, which prevents the snapshot from being deleted for seven days,” Schwarz said. “Cybercriminals try and delete the snapshots because they can’t be changed. SafeMode was originally created for protection against insiders, and we have adapted it here. While the engineering effort on the two replication features was very big, this wasn’t that complicated to do but it’s a nice add to our ransomware story. The heart of ransomware protection in all-flash is the speed of restore, and this facilitates that.”

Purity 3.0 also adds FlashBlade support for NFS v4.1 Kerberos, and makes enhancements to audit logs and SNMP support to improve security, alerting, and monitoring capabilities.

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