Pure Storage's All-NVMe FlashArray//X Targets Enterprises Running High-Performance Web-Scale Applications, Data Analytics

All-flash storage array developer Pure Storage Tuesday introduced what it called the first mainstream enterprise flash storage array designed around the latest high-performance, high-density NVMe technology.

The new FlashArray//X is targeted at enterprises running high-performance web-scale applications and data analytics, said Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of product for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

The FlashArray//X is an expansion of Pure Storage's FlashArray//M, which was introduced about two years ago, Kixmoeller told CRN.

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The FlashArray//M was the company's first all-flash storage array built with in-house-designed SSD modules that were touted as offering higher performance and greater flexibility than the industry-standard SSDs commonly employed in arrays. However, Kixmoeller said, the FlashArray//M already had all the plumbing needed to take advantage of higher-performance NVMe flash technology, which is just now coming to market.

With the FlashArray//X, Pure Storage is introducing a new native NVMe controller, new in-house-designed DirectFlash NVMe flash storage modules, and a new DirectFlash software designed to manage NVMe storage.

"Pure Storage is not the first to offer NVMe technology," Kixmoeller said. "But it's like when Pure Storage first came to market. Other companies have fast technology. They are building 'Ferraris,' but they didn't have the software to do it right. We did. And now we're doing it again."

Solid innovation continues to bolster the technology sector, and Pure Storage has been one of the most innovative providers of technology as of late, said Kevin Prahm, vice president of sales and operations at ACS, a Huntington Beach, Calif.-based solution provider and Pure Storage channel partner.

Every customer faces challenges when it comes time to store increasing amounts of data, Prahm told CRN. "Given the FlashArray//X's stated performance characteristics, I believe customers will not only use it to store data more effectively, but they can now better leverage their data and turn that data into something of real value," he said.

NVMe is a technology customers have been hearing about for a couple of years now, Prahm said. "It's great to see Pure Storage finally bringing NVMe to fruition," he said.

Mark Galyardt, executive vice president at XIOSS, an Atlanta-based solution provider and Pure Storage channel partner, said the vendor has been doing very well among XIOSS' Fortune 10 and Fortune 100 enterprise customers, and will find a ready market for the FlashArray//X.

"When a Fortune 10 company replaces its existing storage with Pure, it says something about the company," Galyardt told CRN. "We're using Pure Storage to replace existing technologies, and seeing huge performance gains. Pure's new products have always been value-additive, and we expect more of the same with the FlashArray//X."

With the addition of the FlashArray//X, Pure Storage now offers three primary storage lines, Kixmoeller said.

The first is the company's FlashBlade array, which was purpose-built to offer high-performance flash storage for unstructured data workloads including file, object and IoT data.

The second is the FlashArray//M, which until the introduction of the FlashArray//X was the company's high-performance block storage offering. Kixmoeller said the FlashArray//M will continue to be offered, and now becomes the company's value performance array for consolidating customers' existing workloads.

The third is the FlashArray//X, which Pure Storage will offer to customers looking for the highest-performance block storage workloads, he said.

The FlashArray//X offers about 50 percent lower latency and double the bandwidth of the FlashArray//M in real-world workloads, Kixmoeller said. It also offers four times the performance density of the FlashArray//M. "We've eliminated the performance penalty of high-density storage," he said.

The higher performance of the FlashArray//X brings channel partners not only the opportunity to upgrade customers' storage infrastructures, but also upgrade their networks as well, Kixmoeller said.

"Faster storage will drive faster networks," he said. "This is an opportunity for partners to upgrade both. A lot of vendors are pushing customers to upgrade from 10-Gbit Ethernet to 25-Gbit or 40-Gbit."

The FlashArray//X has been in beta testing with customers for the last quarter and will initially be in directed availability starting in the company's second fiscal quarter, which starts on May 1, with 2.2-TB and 9.1-TB DirectFlash modules, Kixmoeller said.

General availability is expected in the company's third fiscal quarter, at which time Pure Storage will introduce 18.3-TB DirectFlash modules, he said.

With 18.3-TB modules, a FlashArray//X will be able to deliver over 1 Petabyte of effective NVMe storage in a 3U chassis, he said.

Customers' existing FlashArray//M arrays can be upgraded with FlashArray//X NVMe technology under Pure Storage's Evergreen Storage program, he said.

Kixmoeller declined to discuss whether Pure Storage will offer its own hyper-converged infrastructure offering. However, he said, the FlashArray//M technology will be available in the second half of the fiscal year as part of the FlashStack converged infrastructure offering jointly developed with Cisco.