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Pure Storage’s Portworx Targets Modern App Development

Partners looking to stay relevant in the next generation of application environments need to provide customers with the tools necessary to scale in those environments, says Pure Storage Chairman and CEO Charles Giancarlo, adding that ‘this is where Portworx comes in.’

The acquisition last year of Kubernetes data management technology developer Portworx has brought Pure Storage to the forefront of companies helping customers prepare for future data-centric applications, according to Pure Storage Chairman and CEO Charles Giancarlo.

Giancarlo Wednesday told an audience of solution providers during the Best of Breed Virtual 2021 conference that Portworx has become the latest way for Pure Storage to stay relevant with where customers are going next and working with them on evolving their new development areas.

Giancarlo appeared Wednesday in a question-and-answer session with Robert Faletra, executive chairman of CRN parent The Channel Company, and Steven Burke, news editor at CRN.

[Related: Pure Storage CEO Outlines What It Means To Be A Software, Cloud Company]

The IT industry is working to satisfy customers’ immediate needs in terms of their production environments and high-volume opportunities while at the same time trying to stay relevant with where customers are going next, particularly when it comes to evolving new development areas, Giancarlo said.

That, he said, is why Portworx is so important to Pure Storage and its partners.

“Customers are starting to flock toward a container-based environment,” Giancarlo said. “Why is that? Well, it’s because it’s more cost-effective, it uses hardware more cost-effectively, it allows customers to have a far more dynamic environment, but it’s very new for them. The interesting thing is while there is a relatively small amount of production applications that are on containers today, 95 percent by some measurements of customers’ new development areas are on containers.”

Partners looking to stay relevant in the next generation of application environments need to provide customers with the tools necessary to scale in those environments, Giancarlo said.

“And this is where Portworx comes in,” he said. “The initial applications that were developed on containers were done so in an environment that was so-called stateless, a stateless environment. But in most enterprises, especially large scale, applications are stateful and this is what Portworx makes easy for them. And it allows a stateless container environment to work with stateful applications.”

Partners need to bring Kubernetes to customers, and this will give them a chance to interact with developers, thereby opening new revenue opportunities, Giancarlo said.

“It’s no longer just [to meet with] the IT manager, but also the DevOps people, the developers, to build a relationship there,” he said. “We make it very easy with our premium model so that when the customers then later on bring it to a full production environment, we’re able to take them on that journey. And that’s where we’ll really start to show revenue both on our side as well as the partners’.”

Portworx manages cloud-native workloads with what Giancarlo called the industry’s leading software-defined storage system for container-based workloads.

“Because it’s a software-defined system, it can be started up [with as little] as a single server that might also be hosting the customer’s development of their new application, and we have a premium model,” he said. “So this means that developers can [go to production] with very low cost, having a fully managed storage service underlying their container-based application.”

Portworx also provides a Kubernetes-based orchestration layer that allows Pure Storage to layer on services such as backup, recovery, restoration, the ability to do disaster recovery and more using industry-standard Kubernetes, Giancarlo said.

Portworx operates on-premises and in the cloud on any of the hyperscalers, he said.

“And what was the icing on the cake is that it also provided an ability for the customer to start out with the Portworx software-defined storage, but then when they grow up to a production-level application environment they could swap in Pure Storage arrays ... without affecting the environment, that is, nondisruptively,” he said. “So really, it just was like a hand in a glove. It was a perfect fit of two companies.”

Portworx is proving to be a good fit for Pure Storage, said Jeanne Blachowicz, director of sales and marketing at AE Business Solutions, a Madison, Wis.-based solution provider and Pure Storage partner.

“Before, what was really lacking at Pure for several years was variety in its product portfolio,” Blachowicz told CRN. “That’s changing now. Pure is heading in the direction of offering clients more than just being faster at storing data.”

Customers want efficiency and are looking at how to cut back the varied collection of storage vendors and systems on their data center floors, Blachowicz said.

“Pure is in place to take advantage of this in part by looking at how to help increase efficiencies with containers,” she said. “And this allows us to cast a wider net with our Pure relationship.”

Archie James, vice president of business development at Converge Technology Partners, a Toronto-based solution provider and Pure Storage partner, told CRN his company is already bringing Portworx to a couple of customer opportunities.

“This is part of our hybrid cloud practice focus on modern app development,” James said. “We see Portworx as a big part of this and are using it for app modernization. I’m hearing our engineers say they really like Portworx and find it a great tool for containerization.”

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