Pure Storage Evolves The Digital Experience For Data

By Patrick Moorhead - May 27, 2021

Pure Storage will tell you that simplifying storage and data management is its core mission. Evolving an enterprise’s digital experience guides nearly everything the company does. Pure delivers to this mission by providing an increasingly intelligent set of integrated products and solutions.  

Pure’s products and solutions are all aligned to the idea that you can’t separate data from storage, and that managing each requires much more than just fast storage arrays. Managing an organization’s data requires embedding intelligence into the workloads that underlie nearly every business-critical application.  Pure is very successful in this realm. The company is lauded by customers for its simple-to-deploy, manage, and procure systems.

This week Pure Storage is throwing their annual party, Pure Accelerate. Accelerate is where the company solidifies its vision, celebrates its customers, and educates its users and business sponsors with deep dives into nearly everything the company provides.  Accelerate sets the agenda for the coming year. 

This year’s event highlights the goodness that Portworx has brought to Pure Storage and its customers.  Pure demonstrates that not only is supporting cloud-native workloads central to its mission but that it has begun integrating Portworx into its mainstream storage products.  Pure is making very rapid progress on this front.  

The other big theme at Accelerate is the continuation of Pure’s efforts to provide increasingly intelligent management tools to simplify storage and data management for IT administrators. 

Every release from Pure adds to this story, which Pure calls "the modern data experience." Today’s announcements add to the story. 

Rapid Integration of Portworx 

Pure today announced new integrated capabilities between Portworx and Pure’s FlashArray and FlashBlade products.  Portworx Enterprise V2.8 introduces automatic provisioning and management of container-native volumes into the Pure Storage products while also providing deeper integration into Pure's Pure1 management stack.  

Pure describes its cloud-native strategy as “storage as code,” a description that makes a lot of sense.  Cloud-native, when you get to the heart of it, is all about application deployment as code. That’s what orchestration tools like Kubernetes give you — managing data for cloud-native needs to take that same approach.   That is precisely what Portworx delivers. 

The concept of “storage as code” will resonate with IT architects and administrators who deal with containers and cloud-native technologies daily.  IT practitioners who are just getting started with cloud-native will appreciate the simplicity of the implementation. 

While embracing Pure Storage hardware, Pure is very deliberate in not binding Portworx to its products.  The company can tell a better together story with Portworx and Pure’s arrays, but Pure is being very open with its embrace of the broader storage community and the standards around container storage.  

An example of this broad support is the new Portworx support for VMware Tanzu with a new native CSI driver.  Tanzu is becoming very popular in the enterprise datacenter, providing a familiar environment as IT administrators navigate the path from virtualization to containers. The Tanzu support is an excellent new capability for Portworx. 

Pure Storage acquired Portworx less than nine months ago. That Pure has delivered as much as it has with Portworx in less than three quarters of effort speaks very well to the integration and execution of the combined teams. Its competitors should pay attention. 

Cloud-native is an intensely competitive market.  Everyone in the storage space has a story to tell, but the smaller players, like Pure, make the most noise.  This reminds me of the early days of the flash storage market when companies like Pure pushed the larger competitors forward.  It’s going to be fun watching this market evolve.

Pure1 Digital Experience 

“It’s about outcomes,” says Pure Storage’s Chief Product Officer Ajay Singh, who joined Pure from VMware earlier this year.   Ajay is talking about the philosophy that guides Pure's innovations in delivering the intelligent management that provides the foundation for Pure's modern data experience. 

Pure1 is one of the leading intelligent storage management solutions on the market in terms of raw capabilities.  Only HPE's InfoSight comes close to what Pure is delivering in terms of predictive analytics and intelligent storage management.  This was true before today, but the new announcements solidify Pure's position. 

Pure1 is a tool that provides predictive analytics, workload monitoring, intelligent recommendations for both workload placement and upgrade, and managing the procurement and deployment of new storage – whether cloud-based, as-a-service, or physical arrays on-prem.  That's a powerful capability for an IT administrator. 

Pure today announced a long list of enhancements to Pure1.  These new features touch on infrastructure monitoring, AI-driven recommendations, and self-service management and procurement.  It also includes monitoring Portworx, becoming the first storage company to integrate container management and storage management in this class of tools. 

Updates to Pure1 AI-engine Meta, which powers Pure's predictive analytics capability, includes monitoring and managing all data service platforms. This allows an enterprise-wide view of Pure storage products spanning on-prem FlashArray and FlashBlade, cloud-native with Portworx, and Pure Cloud Block Store on both AWS and Microsoft Azure.  

Pure also introduces intelligent workload monitoring and alerting. Pure1 now provides predictive fault analysis and resolution at a container and virtual machine level across a customer's Pure Storage products and services ecosystem.  Pure also introduces new capabilities for ransomware protection. 

Pure also significantly enhanced the AI-driven performance, capacity, and expansion recommendations that Pure1 generates.  Pure1 now monitors resource usage, leveraging that data to provide predictive scenarios that model the impact of workload movement or changes.  This is a powerful capability for an organization with dynamic workloads, especially relevant in container-driven cloud-native environments. 

Finally, Pure has broadened the capabilities of Pure1 to act as a portal for self-service management and digital procurement.  This allows IT administrators to buy new systems and services, order professional services, manage subscriptions, schedule upgrades, and track the progress of any of these things, all from a single-pane-of-glass.  

Pure’s differentiation with Pure1 is the breadth and depth of its integrated capabilities.  While other storage companies expose elements of this through various portals, Pure is leading the way in providing the integrated experience.  

The Analyst’s Take 

As Ajay Singh indicated, if it's all about outcomes, Pure is undoubtedly demonstrating its commitment to that idea with today’s announced features.  Nearly everything offered up plays with the notion that storage is complicated, but managing storage doesn't need to be.  

Pure Storage likes to talk about its vision for simplifying data management.  Cloud-native has been anything but simple for the storage world to figure out. The integration of Portworx into Pure1 and Pure's FlashBlade and FlashArray products goes a long way to simplifying the experience.  

The enhancements to Pure1 provide a simplified storage and data management experience. The updated Pure1 improves the experience by integrating many of the supporting business processes.  There is nothing but goodness in this release for Pure's customers. 

At the same time, the market is increasingly competitive.  The adoption of cloud-native technologies in the enterprise has nearly every storage provider scrambling for a solution. NetApp and IBM, as an example, have each been very aggressive in building cloud-native capabilities into their respective storage architectures.  NetApp has claimed cloud-native as core to its strategy.  There's no clear winner here, but there's certainly an abundance of choice for IT architects. 

Pure Storage continues to execute and disrupt.  The company’s strength, and differentiation, has always been the idea that storage should be simple.  Today’s announcements continue that theme.

Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article. 

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Patrick founded the firm based on his real-world world technology experiences with the understanding of what he wasn’t getting from analysts and consultants. Ten years later, Patrick is ranked #1 among technology industry analysts in terms of “power” (ARInsights)  in “press citations” (Apollo Research). Moorhead is a contributor at Forbes and frequently appears on CNBC. He is a broad-based analyst covering a wide variety of topics including the cloud, enterprise SaaS, collaboration, client computing, and semiconductors. He has 30 years of experience including 15 years of executive experience at high tech companies (NCR, AT&T, Compaq, now HP, and AMD) leading strategy, product management, product marketing, and corporate marketing, including three industry board appointments.