Pure Storage updates FlashArray Purity OS

Pure Storage has added integrated block, file and virtual machine management facilities to its FlashArray Purity OS, saying this enables its array to run all three workloads simultaneously with a common storage pool, unlimited filesystem size and unified policy management.

The File Services for Flash Array software is generally available from today and includes VM-aware storage that provides per-VM granularity for management and protection. It says that users have unified LUN (block), share (file) and VM storage services using Purity’s global flash pool and facilities and the FlashArray all-flash hardware.

Shawn Hansen, VP and GM for FlashArray, said: “The legacy unified storage market has been held back by the inflexibility and cost of decades-old architectures. It’s time for a new way: We’re excited to introduce the first truly unified block and file storage platform, built from the ground up for modern simplicity and the ability to evolve with customers.” 

The legacy architectures is a reference to systems such as NetApp’s ONTAP, Dell and HPE, which have split product functionality or split products for file and block services. HPE’s Alletra Storage MP for example, has separate block and file storage software environments. DDN’s acquired Tintri business was the first to offer VM-aware and relevant storage services with its VMstore arrays.

Peter Skovrup, Pure’s VP Product Management for FlashArray, told B&F: “Tintri had some of the components – we take it a little bit further.”

Pure first obtained file services support for FlashArray with its Compuverde acquisition in 2019. It integrated this software into its Purity v6 release in mid-2020:

Pure Purity v6 with integrated Compuverde file services
Purity v6 with integrated Compuverde file services

Now it has built on that with integrated file, block and VM services. Specifically customers receive:

  • Global storage pools for storage admins to use as needed, across block and file, with non-disruptive expansion on the fly and unlimited file system sizes, 
  • Unified policy Management for block and file storage services, 
  • VM-Aware Storage capabilities with per-VM granularity for statistics, snapshots, quotas, and policies,
  • Common use case support, including VMware and NFS data stores, user directories and profiles, content repositories, data protection, and backup. NFS v3, 4.0 and 4.1 are supported.
Peter Skovrup, Pure Storage
Peter Skovrup

Skovrup said: “VMware is two-thirds blocks and VVOLS and one-third NFS datastores.”

Pure arranged for the ESG research outfit to cast its eye over this new functionality, and Practise Director and Principal Economic Validation Analyst Aviv Kaufmann said: “Through customer interviews, product walkthroughs and based on our broad view of the storage industry, we have found that Unified all-flash block and file storage from Pure Storage reduces complexity to manage block and file workloads by 62 percent, with a 58 percent lower total cost of ownership.” 

Pure’s pitch is now that its FlashArray systems can run block, file and VM-level workloads on the same hardware/software base with all three environments having the benefit of its non-disruptive upgrades, global deduplication, scalability, clustering and protection facilities.

We should remember that Pure can support Kubernetes containerized workloads with its Portworx functionality as well.

Pure Storage CTO Alex McMullan told us that Pure is building systems for colossal scale, his terminology. We should recognize that the 300TB Direct Flash Modules planned for 2026 are part of this idea. B&F thinks that Pure could be telling its customers that they won’t have to go the public cloud to run applications against massive data sets. They can do it on-premises and its existing arrays will be upgradable to the colossal scale ones coming; colossal in storage density and not in physical size.

Pure is building a universal storage system, one supporting block, file, VM and container workloads, scalable to the exabyte level and extending out to the public cloud. It wants to lead the way to very large and highly integrated storage systems and not be outflanked by other suppliers’ best-of-breed and workload-specific products.