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Pure Storage Aims At Enterprise With FlashArray//XL

Joseph F. Kovar

‘It’s engineered to serve the top tier of enterprise environments. Performance is 70 [percent] to 80 percent higher than that of the FlashArray//X90, and it can fit a lot more data in a relatively small package,’ says Dan Kogan, vice president of product management for the FlashArray line.

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Pure Storage Wednesday unveiled a new member of its all-flash FlashArray storage line the company said has the performance and scalability to meet the demands of the highest-performance enterprise workloads.

The new Pure Storage FlashArray//XL is an entirely new design, built from the ground up with a new chassis and new DirectFlash modules, said Dan Kogan, vice president of product management for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s FlashArray line.

“It’s engineered to serve the top tier of enterprise environments,” Kogan told CRN. “Performance is 70 [percent] to 80 percent higher than that of the FlashArray//X90, and it can fit a lot more data in a relatively small package. For customers building their own private cloud, the FlashArray//XL is the way to do it.”

[Related: Pure Storage CEO Charles Giancarlo’s 10 Boldest Remarks From BoB Virtual 2021]

The FlashArray//X90, introduced in mid-2018, has been Pure Storage’s flagship array. It stored up to 3.3 petabytes of effective capacity, or up to 878 TB of raw capacity, with throughput of 20 GBps in a 6U chassis featuring NVMe-based flash technology.

The new FlashArray//XL, on the other hand, delivers up to 5.78 PB effective capacity, latency as low as 150 microseconds, and up to 36 GBps throughput, all in a 5U chassis. It also includes 5:1 data reduction average and 99.9999 percent availability, the company said.

The new array is based on new DirectFlash modules, which are Pure Storage’s proprietary flash storage devices. The new modules, Kogan said, are the first to include NVRAM, or non-volatile random-access memory, which protects data even if power is cut off.

Like the other members of the FlashArray family, the FlashArray//XL runs the Purity operating system, Kogan said.

“It’s the same OS for all the arrays,” he said. “This promotes ease of use and a unified customer experience throughout the line.”

The FlashArray//XL is a very important evolution in Pure Storage’s product line, said CEO Charles Giancarlo.

“We’ve long been certainly a technology leader in what’s called tier-one storage for tier-one compute databases, remote desktop and all of that,” Giancarlo told CRN. “And we’ve gone into tier-zero environments but not at large scale. This product now allows us to go into those large-scale, tier-zero environments. Super high performance, and also getting to petabytes of information. So we feel really good about this new product.”

It is a very exciting addition to the Pure Storage portfolio, said Hassan Kassih, senior director for the national data center and cloud practice at ConvergeOne, a Bloomington, Minn.-based solution provider and longtime Pure Storage channel partner.

“Customers will now have the option to buy the simplicity, operation and efficiency of Pure Storage at a larger scale than before,” Kassih told CRN. “This lets them scale for management and performance. And because it’s based on the Purity operating system, it lets me start selling it right away while our engineers will need a minimum of on-site training. This will be a game-changer for Pure Storage.”

While the Pure Storage FlashArray//X line targeted a lot of enterprise workloads, and the FlashArray//C line targeted smaller workloads with the use of lower-cost consumer-grade flash technology, the FlashArray//XL gives businesses the power to not only run enterprise applications, but also build their own hybrid cloud infrastructures, Kogan said.

“The kind of applications that will run on the FlashArray//XL are not really on the cloud today,” he said. “Online banking, online transaction processing and high-end databases don’t really run on public clouds. The FlashArray//XL provides a platform to run different performance classes of applications on different performance tiers, just like on a public cloud. IT teams can build catalogs of technologies available just like the cloud providers do.”

Looking ahead, Pure Storage has a number of big changes to its product lines coming up, Giancarlo said.

The company’s low-cost FlashArray//C and high-performance FlashArray//X are actually the same product, just with different storage blades, and eventually will be unified into a single offering, he said. Pure Storage is also planning to introduce new generations of its FlashBlade technology for unified file and object data, he said.

“Our Pure Fusion [SaaS management technology], which we announced in September, also allows FlashArray to scale because what Pure Fusion does is allow FlashArrays including our Cloud Block Store to be managed as a single global system,” he said. “So it really allows for much broader use of the product, and allows organizations to really orchestrate their entire fleet of storage.”

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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