Pure Storage Aims To Disrupt All-Flash Storage Maintenance Costs With 'Forever Flash' Program

Enterprise all-flash storage array vendor Pure Storage Thursday rolled out a new way of managing maintenance and service fees in a program it said will significantly reduce the cost to customers who want to keep their storage technology up-to-date.

The new Forever Flash program from Pure Storage gives customers the option of either getting free controller upgrades as part of their maintenance and service contracts, or of preventing increases in fees related to those contracts by simply upgrading controllers or capacity, said Michelle Graff, director of worldwide channel programs and marketing for the Mountain View, Calif.-based storage vendor.

Solution providers can expect to see three primary benefits from the Forever Flash program, Graff said.

[Related: Pure Storage Gets $150M Funding, Talks Big Plans For All-Flash Storage Arrays]

Sponsored post

The first is the opportunity to upgrade discussions with customers to include capex (capital expenses) and opex (operating expenses) by helping them look at budget allocations, she said.

The second is the potential for improving customer retention with quantifiable savings over three to five years.

The third is an easier way to sell maintenance contracts, which will add to higher renewal rates while making it easier to sell more capacity, Graff said.

"It's good for customers, and good for Pure Storage's partners," she said.

The benefits of Forever Flash stem from the fact that maintenance has a three-year to five-year cadence of steady price increases that could be stemmed or eliminated with the program, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and Pure Storage partner.

"This gives customers a choice about whether to focus on capex or opex," Woodall said. "We'll have to see how customers react. It's certainly different from what they're used to seeing, and there will be questions. But it's an opportunity to talk different scenarios. And any reason to talk to a customer is good, especially if it's an opportunity to help them stay current."

Under Forever Flash, customers have a choice of two ways to handle maintenance and service contracts, said Luanne Dauber, director of marketing for the vendor.

Under the first option, Free Every Three, customers who pay their maintenance renewals get a free new controller every three years, which not only saves the purchase cost, but also eliminates the need to re-evaluate new technology, Dauber said.

NEXT: Exploring The Benefits Of Pure Storage's Forever Flash

"We support nondisruptive upgrades, letting customers upgrade their flash array without interrupting data availability," she said. "So customers are always on the latest versions of the hardware and software."

Under the second option, Fresh Every Upgrade, whenever a customer either upgrades a controller or expands capacity with a new disk shelf, the maintenance clock is set to zero, which means eliminating the typical rise in maintenance over time as the array ages, Dauber said.

When customers know they can reduce maintenance costs, they win, Woodall said.

"It's Pure Storage saying we're not just disrupting the performance model with all-flash storage arrays, but also the financial model," he said. "It makes the refresh cycle simple."

It is still too early to see if Pure Storage's Forever Flash program will disrupt solution providers' maintenance streams, Woodall said.

"Most storage environments are growing, so they're always adding new capacity," he said. "So maintenance costs will grow with customers' increased footprint. But it will be on a case-by-case basis. So in a particular case, there may be less revenue from a customer. But it makes a happier customer, one who will buy more from me."