While unified block and file storage systems have been around for some time, Pure says that they bolt management onto one primary system, whereas their new service manages blocks, files and VMs on an equal plane, allowing admins to have the native benefits of all.
Storage vendor Pure Storage has announced the general availability of File Services for FlashArray, a next-generation storage service designed from the ground up to transcend the limitations of traditional unified block and file storage, and which works through a single global pool of resources.
“Multi-protocol unified storage systems have been on the market for many years, but these multiprotocol systems haven’t delivered on their promise,” said Peter Skovrup, VP of Product Management for FlashArray. “The enterprise data market is ripe for disruption as a result. We have come up with a better way of doing unified storage.”
Skovrup emphasized that multiprotocol unified storage environments miss out on the strength of separate architectures, because one system is always bolted onto the other.
“That’s the shortcoming,” he said. “That’s why the transition to a more native experience that treat blocks, files and VMs all as first party citizens is superior. We bring them all into a single system without imposing one on the others. These native capabilities combine with the simplicity of all flash management to provide a much stronger service that does not have artificial limitations around the storage.”
Skovrup stressed that the promise of unified storage is based on this efficiency of a single architecture.
“If you have to expand VMs or workloads, you optimize on the fly,” he said. “What we do with this is a unified system with no artificial limit. The management paradigm is simple on a per workload basis. You operate each workload as you prefer and make changes any time you want.”
This all translates into an estimated 62% reduction in management time and a 58% total cost of ownership improvement over three years, according to the Enterprise Strategy Group analyst firm.
File Services for FlashArray also introduces the concept of VM-aware storage, to give the granular visibility and management Pure brings to file to VMs with VM-aware Storage.
“You must be able to operate on a VM-granular architecture,” Skovrup said. “With our global storage pool, each VM has its own policy domain, and because it is built for flash, not for file systems, we dedupe across both files and blocks.”
Skovrup said that Pure chose to focus on how the new system’s impact on VMware because it works well with VMware, and shows customers how they can transcend ways in which they have limited their management flexibility previously.
“People using NFS data storage so far have been reluctant to go to a better model on the block side,” he stated. “As soon as people start experiencing the flexibility of this service, they will apply it more broadly. It resonates very well with the VMware approach, which is why we focused on that. The service is not specialized for VMware, but we focus on that example.”
Pure believes that File Services for FlashArray has a potential very large market, which strengthens its disruptive potential.
“We don’t think it’s just for the large players,” Skovrup said. “It applies to all who are looking for simplicity of their management domain. Commercial customers will see both operational benefits and a change to consolidate we expect broad adoption but slightly different depending on the environment.”
File Services for FlashArray is a free upgrade. It also uses Pure’s Evergreen capabilities for delivering refresh of any technology in place, which is now in its 11th generation.
Skovrup said that the new services both provide new opportunities for channel partners, and associated benefits for Pure because it will encourage some partners to recommend this for all their customers’ storage needs.
“There is a highly motivated set of the base that has issues working with incumbents, and this is the missing component for them to use Pure for all of their storage,” he stated.