All-flash storage pioneer Pure Storage Wednesday said it plans to acquire Portworx and combine that company’s Kubernetes Data Services Platform with its own data platform and orchestration software to offer a comprehensive suite of in-cloud, bare metal or array data services natively orchestrated in Kubernetes.
The US$370 million all-cash deal, which is expected to close by the end of September, is by far the largest acquisition Pure Storage has done to date, the company's vice president of strategy Matt Kixmoeller said.
When the acquisition closes, Portworx will become a new business unit within Pure Storage led by Portworx CEO Murli Thirumale, Kixmoeller told CRN.
Portworx is the developer of a leading Kubernetes data services platform for running mission-critical workloads in containers in production, Kixmoeller said.
“We’ll bring Portworx to Pure Storage’s global partners,” he said. “Bringing Portworx to global scale is important. Portworx was designed for heterogeneous environments. Any cloud, any infrastructure. We maintain the ability of Portworx to work with heterogeneous infrastructures.”
Portworx was founded about six years ago by storage industry veterans who were watching the idea of containers just starting to take off, said Michael Ferranti, vice president of product and corporate marketing for the company.
“They realized the need to make applications, not the arrays, the center of IT,” Ferranti told CRN. “Our first deployment was in 2017, and it’s now in use globally. We are all about heterogeneous infrastructures at the application level, and about letting customers decide what partners to use for their digital transformation.”
Pure Storage and Portworx have several joint customers running the Portworx container technology on Pure Storage infrastructures, including T-Mobile, Comcast, the Royal Bank of Canada, Kroger and GE Digital.
Over 95 percent of new applications are being developed in containers, Ferranti said, citing 451 Research. Meanwhile, Gartner expects that 85 percent of global businesses will have containers in production by 2025, he said.
That is why it is important for vendors in the storage business to have a container strategy, and a heterogeneous strategy in particular, Kixmoeller said.
“As this environment grows, organizations are embracing Kubernetes, but using their own storage,” he said. “As this continues to grow, enterprises are asking how do they standardize their containers? How to they control their enterprise applications?”
Pure Storage decided to acquire Portworx because of the huge opportunity it sees in the Kubernetes container market, Kixmoeller said. “Our goal is to integrate Portworx deeply with Pure Storage and accelerate what Portworx has been doing,” he said.
Even so, Pure Storage will double down on the Portworx road map and continue to develop the technology to work with any storage vendor, Kixmoeller said.
“We care about what customers want,” he said. “Cloud, Pure Storage arrays, other arrays. Pure will be a fantastic platform for Portworx. But we are committed to [Portworx] working on any cloud, bare metal or enterprise array.”
Pure Storage is not the first storage vendor to jump on the Kubernetes bandwagon.
NetApp, the largest independent storage vendor, earlier this year introduced Project Astra, a new platform to provide persistent storage in Kubernetes environments. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said persistent storage capabilities are key when moving applications from DevOps to production or between clouds and on-premises.
Commvault in July introduced comprehensive Kubernetes support to its Hedvig software-defined storage technology.
Ferranti said every customer and every storage vendor needs a container strategy, and that all storage vendors can be expected to adopt such a strategy. The difference with Pure Storage is a commitment to making the technology available to all storage platforms, he said.
“Our difference is that we match what customers need,” he said. “NetApp’s strategy is to bring containers to NetApp infrastructure. ... Portworx can run on any storage but imbue it with native Kubernetes. Customers want Kubernetes on their storage. The unique thing about Pure Storage’s strategy is we want containers on any storage.”