Pure Storage adds new features to FlashArray

 Pure Storage adds new features to FlashArray

Following up the release of its flagship product Pure Storage FlashArray product in May, Pure Storage, a startup which makes an all-flash offering, has upgraded the product with several new features, including iSCSI connectivity, ZeroSnap snapshots and complete integration with and management within VMware through a vCenter Web Client Plugin.The Pure Storage FlashArray is built from the ground-up to take full advantage of Flash. It implements RAID-3D, the company’s own proprietary form of RAID specifically designed to protect against the unique failure modes of flash. RAID-3D implements three layers of independent parity, protecting against multiple drive losses, flash bit errors and variability in flash performance. And it uses less expensive MLC Flash rather than SLC to control costs and make it affordable, with Pure’s software making the consumer-grade MLC much more reliable and extending its lifespan. Inline data reduction is also used to reduce costs, by storing more data on same amount of flash with deduplication and compression.

“This release significantly broadens out our feature set,” said Luanne Dauber, Director of Marketing, Pure Storage. “We had to apply discipline around the features we wanted to support in the GA release. Our top priority then was HA capability, and getting the right Flash software in place.”

This release adds support for iSCSI, complementing the Fibre Channel support that was available in the initial release.

“We started with the most popular protocol and are now adding additional differentiation,” Dauber said. “Having iSCSI is also important to us because our value proposition is an economic one, and iSCSI is less expensive. It will enable some new markets for us.”

Snapshots have also been added, with Pure saying its ZeroSnap Snapshots go beyond what snapshots in the industry typically deliver. ZeroSnap Snapshots were designed to harness the power of 100% flash memory, delivering snapshots with so little overhead that literally 1,000 can be taken in a single minute.

“We didn’t judge snapshots to be a critical feature before, but these ZeroSnap instant snapshots have no performance or space impact,” Dauber said. “They are taken instantly and are fully deduped, always thin, always compressed with no restrictions on recovery. They are fast because its 100% metadata.”

Pure has also added a VMware vCenter Web Client Plugin, which enables comprehensive management of the FlashArray within vCenter.

“Integrating the Pure Storage flash array with vCenter through this web plug-in makes managing a flash array pretty easy,” Dauber said.

Pur Storage also announced that the entire FlashArray 300-Series is now fully VMware-Ready Certified and VAAI-Enabled. It is fully supported by Pure Storage and VMware for production deployments, and the VAAI-enablement, ensuring the highest levels of performance under vSphere.

These new features will be made available to customers as a software upgrade to the Pure Storage Purity Operating Environment (Purity 2.5) for free as long as a current maintenance agreement is in place. Purity 2.5 is currently in beta testing, will be demonstrated next week at VMworld 2012, and will be generally available in the fall.

Dauber said that for the vast majority of customers, these upgrades will be an incentive to buy rather than a free upgrade however — because most customers have not yet purchased a Flash array.

“Much of The Flash array market is still a giant Green Field,” she said. “Most people who will buy them haven’t purchased them yet.”

Dauber also said that Pure Storage has raised a $40 million Series D funding round, bringing total funding to date to $95 million. The company will use the new capital to expand its US-based operations and extend its global footprint, particularly in Europe where they had had no presence.

“For a start-up, having funding is very important to the channel,” she said. “95 million in funding establishes us a well funded partner. It demonstrates our commitment to building a company providing solutions, and shows we have the money to actually execute.”

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