Enterprise served pure flash storage

By Liam Tung on Aug 24, 2011 7:51 AM
Filed under Data centre

Start-up says it's cheaper a Gigabyte than disk.

Pure Storage, a well-connected enterprise solid state storage start-up, has released its flash-only array.

The company on Tuesday unveiled the Pure Storage FlashArray, which CEO Scott Dietzen claimed was cheaper than disk at around $5 a Gigabyte at 5:1 data reduction, using a mixture of compression and de-duplication. 

Pure Storage has secured financial backing from the world’s largest SSD maker, Samsung, as well as VMware founder, Diane Greene, former VMWare chief scientist, Dr Mendel Rosenblum and Frank Slootman, former CEO of EMC acquisition Data Domain. 

One of the challenges large enterprises faced today was a crunch between demand for higher input-output performance at the same time as consuming a smaller footprint in the datacentre.

Also, while CPUs and networks had gotten faster, storage had not, according to Dietzer.

"Storage has failed to keep pace due to the constraints of mechanical disk," he said.  

That, of course, was largely due to the high cost of flash memory, which has slowly made its way into consumer devices.

Reductions in the cost of flash storage depend largely on Pure's capacity to de-duplicate and compress data.

According to Dietzen, de-duplication has been limited to archived and backup data because it relied on random I/O which, on disk, could cause unacceptable latency overheads to primary storage.   

"With flash there is no random access penalty," he argued.  

On the performance front, Pure Storage highlighted that its arrays were capable of 100,000 I/O per second (IOPS) versus the 10,000 IOPS capable on disk, while a single array would support "hundreds" of terabytes, depending on the extent of data reduction applied. 

"Solid state technologies are destined to replace disk, and that can only happen with a economic-led storage revolution," said Steve Duplessie, senior analyst and founder of Enterprise Strategy Group.

"It's only a matter of time before disk, as we currently know it, will stop being a significant part of the data center." 

Pure Storage is just the latest to deliver flash storage to the enterprise, but it became the first to deliver an all-flash array. 

EMC, for example, began including optional flash memory in its Symmetrix DMX-4 in 2008, and by May this year claimed it had clocked up 14 petabytes in Flash-based sales to the enterprise. 

It planned to deliver an all-flash version of its Symmetrix VMAX and EMC VNX systems for high performance environments later this year.  

Pure’s founders include John Colgrove, a founding engineer at Symantec-owned Veritas, while Dietzen and fellow founder John Hayes emerged respectively from Yahoo through its acquisitions of Bix and Zimbra.   

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Enterprise served pure flash storage Image credit: Pure Storage.
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