Pure Storage eyes multi-PB data farms for QLC storage array

Pure Storage is expected to announce a quad-level cell flash system tomorrow, Sept 17, at Pure Accelerate in Austin, Texas.

A QLC flash array would reduce flash storage costs compared with current Pure FlashBlade TLC (3 bits/cell), thus enabling Pure to tackle nearline disk storage applications. 

Late last month we reported a forecast by Wells Fargo senior analyst Aaron Rakers that Pure Storage would launch a QLC flash array at Pure Accelerate – the company’s annual customer event. He predicted this after meeting Pure Storage’s chief architect Rob Lee and Matt Danziger, head of investor relations.

In Austin today there are more signs that Pure is prepping this launch.

A Pure Accelerate presentation session – Pure Base Camp session PBC296 – is entitled “All-Flash Solutions Optimized for All Your Data Needs.” Its overview says “New QLC solutions provide economic and capacity optimization along with the resilience and performance required to meet all your data-center needs.”

A second indication comes from a book that Pure has privately published, entitled ‘Flash was only the beginning’, which celebrates the company’s 10-year history.

This discusses QLC flash on page 284 and says in that context: “The company is actively developing more sophisticated error detection and correction and mechanisms to maximise high-density device lifetimes.”

Pure envisages “a multi-petabyte “data farm” with much more flash managed by a processor than today’s systems could lower storage cost even beyond that of FlashBlade [its tier 2 unstructured data storage array]”,

And Rakers sounds increasingly confident in his prediction for an imminent launch of a Pure Storage QLC array. In his latest newsletter, sent on September 13 , he writes: “From a product perspective, we expect Pure to intro QLC-based all-Flash arrays with a focus on TAM [total addressable market] expansion positioning; lower-performance complement to existing FlashArray and FlashBlade systems.”

The Accelerate agenda mentions another session of interest

The ASK470 session is called simply “FlashArray //C”. This is not a known FlashArray product designation. Its overview note says “Tier 2 workloads no longer have to suffer from the poor choices hybrid storage offers.” This indicates another tier 2 box is in the wings and will complement FlashBlade.

Whether this box is the QLC box is not clear but we can be more certain that QLC is coming to Pure.