Pure Storage Beefs Up FlashBlade, FlashArray Lines

In addition to enhancements to the Purity software behind Pure Storage’s FlashBlade and FlashArray aimed at increasing storage efficiency and protection against ransomware, the company unveiled an entry-level FlashArray//C all-flash storage array.


All-flash storage technology developer Pure Storage Tuesday updated its Purity storage operating systems for its FlashArray block storage array and FlashBlade file and object storage array with an eye toward increasing the security of data and improving efficiency.

Pure Storage also introduced a new partnership with Data-Management-as-a-Service technology developer Komprise to provide Komprise Asynchronous Replication to better deliver reliable data replication for Pure FlashArray file customers.

On the FlashBlade side, Pure Storage is looking to increase the array’s performance and its ability to handle large volumes of smaller-size files, said Amy Fowler, vice president of strategy and solutions for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s FlashBlade line.

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“FlashBlade as a system offers high performance for large sequential files and super-high performance with smaller files,” Fowler told CRN. “Its massively distributed key-value pair database allows it to scale to terabytes of data with a rich set of data services including replication, safe mode snapshots and more.”

New to the updated FlashBlade operating system, Purity//FB 3.2, is native fast server message block (SBM) protocol support to expand performance beyond the arrays’ existing network file system (NFS) and Amazon S3 protocols, Fowler said.

Native SBM support is important for use cases such as SQL backups or restores, particularly in the case of ransomware attacks where high-speed recovery is essential, she said. It is also important in health care where vendors like Philips use the SBM protocol, she said.

“We are going to enable our channel partners to have a great set solution for clients from 200-bed hospitals to large research medical centers,” she said.

Purity//FB 3.2 also now offers sparse file support for thin provisioning in VMware and Commvault deployments along with granular real-time insight to improve data visibility and security, Fowler said.

Purity//FB 3.2 is slated to go into general availability in April, she said.

On the FlashArray side, Pure Storage introduced its Purity//FA 6.1 software along with a new physical array, said Scott Baker, vice president of product marketing for the FlashArray line.

Purity//FA 6.1, which is now available, provides new capabilities for customers using high-speed Fibre Channel storage networks, Baker said.

This includes support for Pure Storage’s ActiveCluster over Fibre Channel without the need for additional hardware or software. It also includes full integration with Purity asynchronous and synchronous replication to enable third recovery sites to be added anywhere in the world, as well as NVMe over Fibre Channel to increase performance and throughput compared with the traditional Fibre Channel protocol, he said.

“NVMe over Fibre Channel versus SCSI-based Fibre Channel means over a 50 percent decrease in latency and better than double the throughput,” he said.

Also new to Purity//FA 6.1 is Purity SafeMode, which provides immutable snapshots and configurable policies that retain data for up to 30 days to reduce the downtime that comes from a ransomware attack, Baker said.

“SafeMode means data snapshots cannot be deleted for up to 30 days, depending on customers’ policies,” he said.

On the hardware side, Pure Storage expanded its FlashArray//C line of entry-level all-flash arrays based on low-cost QLC flash technology, Baker said.

This includes the introduction of a new controller to its existing FlashArray//C60 array to increase capacity to up to 1.8 petabytes of raw data across 10 QLC drives with a 33 percent improvement in storage efficiency as well as a tripling of snapshot capacities to improve data protection use cases, he said.

The company also introduced a new entry-level model, the FlashArray//C40, which provides up to 494 TB of capacity across two QLC drives, he said. FlashArray//C40 is aimed at competing with hybrid flash-disk storage arrays, he said.

Channel partners working with the FlashArray line can also now add asynchronous replication with technology from Campbell, Calif.-based Komprise, which replicates file data seamlessly to provide safe, consistent recovery points for disaster recovery.

The Komprise Asynchronous Replication for FlashArray Files provides granular replication, scheduling of replication and the ability to manage multiple FlashArray replications via a single console, Komprise said.

Pure Storage continues to innovate its flash storage technologies for performance, compliance and reliability, said Hassan Kassih, senior director for the data center and cloud national practice at ConvergeOne, a Bloomington, Minn.-based solution provider and early Pure Storage partner.

“The new enhancements align with what we look for from Pure Storage,” Kassih told CRN.

The introduction of Purity SafeMode snapshots for the Pure Storage FlashArray line is an important move to help with data protection, particularly in the face of potential ransomware attacks that need time to be resolved, Kassih said.

“Thirty days is enough time for investigations of ransomware attacks, calling in the authorities and finding clean copies of the data,” he said.

Pure Storage’s introduction of the FlashArray//C40 provides the kinds of economics, performance and efficiency improvements to help customers eliminate the need for hybrid storage arrays in the future, Kassih said.

“For performance and efficiency, it’s an easy choice,” he said. “For customers looking for affordable performance storage, hybrid has been the go-to choice because of the price,” he said. “But for extra performance and efficiency, the FlashArray//C40 is even better than hybrid storage.”

On the FlashArray side, Kassih said Pure Storage’s ActiveCluster technology over IP networks has been a good choice for data resiliency and data protection, but the addition of ActiveCluster over Fibre Channel provides customers with more options.

“Customers can now choose IP or Fibre Channel networks,” he said. “Coming out of COVID-19, customers are looking for improved resiliency. And having Fibre Channel as an option is important.”