Pure Storage cuts workforce amid competitive pressures 

Pure Storage has chopped up to 275 employees globally, marking another round of layoffs.

Update: Zeoli attribution of VAST having a 6 percent share of the data center all-flash array market removed. 10 February 2024.

We’re told the all-flash array supplier’s data protection, AI & analytics, database, alliances, and unstructured data areas are affected, and the reductions amount to some 4 percent of Pure’s workforce.

A spokesperson at Pure told Blocks and Files: “As Pure continues to scale and maintain a record of high growth and innovation, we recently completed a workforce rebalancing initiative to align our employees with company priorities and areas that are strategic to the business. The employees affected by this initiative were eligible to apply to open roles and also offered outplacement services to assist with their job search outside of Pure.”

This latest round of layoffs follows job cuts made by Pure in January and April last year

Nasdaq-listed Pure announced a healthy set of results for its Q3 of fiscal 2024, ended November 5, with revenues up 13 percent year-on-year to $762.8 million, and a profit of $70.4 million recorded compared to a minor loss in the same period of the prior year. The Q4 outlook was more downbeat, with revenues of $782 million forecast, equating to a decline of 3.5 percent year-on-year.

A move toward more subscription-based business is affecting income on the one hand and delayed shipment of a $41 million 5G telco customer is another headwind.

We have heard from industry sources that Hammerspace is making inroads at Meta, a big FlashBlade customer, in the large language model training arena, using all-flash storage servers orchestrated by Hammerspace’s software. Meta, like other large web-scale customers, needs a POSIX-compliant file system and not an HTTP/RSST object system, according to a source familiar with the situation.

AI training cluster diagram

Meta is building 1,000 node clusters with 100 Tbps bandwidth and doesn’t have an RDMA-capable network, we’re told. It uses layer 3 switching and cannot use NVMeoF. Meta started with Pure Storage’s FlashBlade as the array, we’re told, but came to view it as limited. It’s also not a commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) system.

At this scale you need to save pennies on the dollar, and it was felt that Hammerspace’s relatively cheap Linux storage boxes could fit the bill. We’re also told VAST Data, which uses COTS kit with an internal NVMe-oF fabric, was expensive and wouldn’t scale past 30 nodes without performance falling off. Vast disputes this.