These days, every company seems to be delivering their products as a service. While Salesforce may not have been aware of what it was doing at the time of its CRM product launch in 1999, it fundamentally shifted the way IT departments—and consumers, for that matter—consume technology. This trend spread to hardware and IT services as many major solutions providers offer consumption-based models to satisfy the demands of organizations wanting to deliver all IT services in a cloud-like model.
Pure Storage launched its own consumption-based service in 2018, bringing the cloud operating model for storage to the on premises datacenter with Evergreen//One. Since then, Pure has continued to build on its storage-as-a-service offering with new services (e.g., Evergreen//Flex). Pure has undoubtedly been at the leading edge of the innovation curve when it comes to delivering new storage solutions, seemingly continually pushing the market to follow its approach of focusing on simplicity, performance and cost savings.
In June, Pure announced several updates at its Accelerate Las Vegas event (you can read my coverage here). The focus was on greater performance, reliability and cost savings through hardware innovations. Pure’s Accelerate London event this week is also focused on performance, reliability and TCO—but this time with a focus on software and services. In the following few sections, I’ll detail what I think are the compelling elements of Pure’s payload.
Cloud Experience Delivered In Full
As mentioned above, by this point almost every IT solutions vendor has created a consumption-based offering. To varying degrees, these solutions have enabled IT organizations to adopt a cloud operating model to deliver services to their internal customers.
From talking with IT executives, I find that many have found real benefits in deploying these solutions. In other words, the technology has indeed lived up to the hype in many ways. Mileage will vary, but for the most part, IT can use the cloud operating model to do more, faster—and cheaper.
In the case of Pure, these benefits have been realized and then some. The company has not only spent a lot of time delivering its cloud model but also put a lot of co-engineering effort into making the on-prem cloud environment seamlessly integrate with the public cloud. For example, in August the company announced the availability of its Cloud Block Store for Azure VMWare Solution. This solution seamlessly (and wholly) integrates an on-prem VMWare environment to Azure (you can read my coverage of that here). This example speaks to both companies’ exhaustive efforts to understand the current AVS experience and how they could jointly improve performance and cost savings.
Fast forward to Accelerate London, and Pure’s unique way of looking at delivering value to its customers is again on display. Once in a while, a company launches a product or service and I ask myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” One of Pure’s new services falls squarely in this camp.
Pure Rack And Power Space Commitment
This commitment is simple: Pure will pay the storage and rack costs associated with deploying its Evergreen//One and Evergreen//Flex STaaS offerings. The company can do this because it claims these solutions will result in an 85% reduction in energy use and a 95% reduction in rack space relative to competing solutions.
I believe this move will be followed by many in the consumption-based IT services market. Think about this: The costs for power and rack space account for roughly 20% of TCO in the storage market. So even when an IT organization deploys STaaS on-premises, a considerable expenditure still exists—one that goes away with the cloud. The guarantee from Pure removes that expenditure.
I appreciate how well thought-out the service is. Pure has even figured out how to support those IT organizations where operational costs like power and rack space are not direct line items in an IT budget (and, therefore, where a rebate check wouldn’t impact the IT department’s bottom line). By offering service credits as an alternative, Pure allows IT to benefit even when power and space costs sit in a separate budget center such as facilities.
It’s important to note that this program is not exact down to the penny for every customer. To operationalize this without endless accounting headaches, Pure bases power and rack space rates on a regional average cost and uses these numbers to determine the payout. Still, customers will realize actual—significant—cost savings.
I’ll bet I could set a timer for how little time it will take for every consumption-based IT vendor to offer a similar program. Pure’s initiative here is so simple on its face, which might be what makes it such a brilliant move.
Zero Data Loss And No Data Migration Guarantees/SLA
Another area that extends the cloud operating model is what Pure refers to as future-proofing the business with its zero data loss and no data migration guarantee. Again, these are capabilities IT professionals take as a given in the public cloud and that Pure is now matching for on-premises cloud storage deployments.
These services, available to Evergreen//One, Evergreen//Flex and Evergreen//Forever subscribers, are exactly as one would expect. The clear focus is on data resilience—availability and integrity—without compromise. But by establishing guarantees, Pure is putting financial skin in the game, so to speak. Specifically, it is offering up to 12 months of service credits if any data is lost due to its hardware or software.
The company’s no data migration guarantee/SLA is also quite compelling. In this offering, customers using Evergreen//One, Evergreen//Flex and Evergreen//Forever can upgrade their Pure hardware platforms without any pause in data availability and no concerns around data integrity. Again, the company is creating a financial stake for itself in impeccable delivery by offering service credits in response to any “gotchas” that may inadvertently occur during upgrades.
Pure Protect //DRaaS
Finally, Pure is announcing Pure Protect //DRaaS, its disaster recovery-as-a-service solution. This key announcement is part of the company’s more significant focus on data resilience, from assessing (and scoring) an environment’s resilience profile to recommendations around further strengthening the environment’s posture.
With Pure Protect //DRaaS, backing up VMWare environments to the cloud (starting with AWS today) is delivered with point-and-click simplicity from the Pure1 interface. Again, I like the approach that Pure is taking with this capability as it focuses on significantly simplifying the process for a mission-critical capability. Additionally, it is lowering the cost of these services significantly.
Be patient if you’re wondering when Pure Protect //DRaaS will be available for other public clouds. While the company hasn’t committed to supporting Azure, I expect it will—just as it did with its AVS support.
What This Means For Enterprise IT
When I was in IT, every function was specialized. Me and my band of merry nerds loved servers and application development. The networking team was a separate team that performed some plumbing wizardry, and the storage team seemed forever locked in a back room, being fed Mountain Dew and Cheetos, to perform some kind of black magic to deliver us what we needed.
Today’s IT is different. Everybody must be able to do everything. And everything must be done faster and cheaper. In today’s data-driven world, the cost of mistakes is potentially far greater to an organization in terms of cost and reputation.
This is what makes a company like Pure so interesting and so smart. It abstracts a lot of complexity from the storage and data management space without sacrificing functionality or performance. These latest announcements show the company further enabling the cloud operating model. And it is doing so on all three planes—technical, operational and business.
Me and my band of merry nerds are aging out of IT. The young whippersnappers replacing us use technology differently. This directly impacts how IT services are designed, delivered and supported. Pure gets this.
It’s fun to watch companies like Pure in action. While Pure’s actions push the storage market, they also impact the IT solutions market as a whole. For example, I expect to see many server vendors look at Pure’s power and space commitment and create similar offerings.
I will be tracking the adoption of these services over the next few quarters, with a focus on the power and rack space payment. Keep an eye out for my coverage.
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