CEO Giancarlo pumps up need for flash storage at Pure//Accelerate

Pure Storage chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Charles Giancarlo focused in on several key themes in a keynote speech Wednesday at the company’s user conference – Pure//Accelerate 2023 – held in Las Vegas. Sustainability was among them, but the key one revolved around what differentiates his company from many other past or current storage vendors.

He said that the Mountain View, Calif.-based company, founded in 2009, came into being based on an “observation that data storage had fallen into commodity thinking.

“Our competitors had been quite proud to pronounce that data storage was a commodity, and that the real focus should be on price, as long as (offerings) met the level of performance that the customer needed and the features they needed.

“It meant that they (vendors) could reduce the amount of R&D that they spent, they could make it all much more profitable. In many cases, those vendors were commodity players producing other commodity products, so it allowed them to consolidate what they were doing.”

It did, he said, also create “somewhat of a Stockholm Syndrome for customers, in that they started to feel that ‘this is the best that it can possibly be, I am getting it for cheap. The fact I am getting poor performance, poor reliability, poor customer service, well this is natural.’ If you know about the Stockholm Syndrome, it means that captives start to sympathize with their captors.”

Giancarlo pointed out that company founders recognized that “if data is the fuel of the future, if data centres are going to continue to advance, then data storage and management has to advance at the same rate.”

Flash storage, which Pure focused on from the start, represented, he said, “a huge opportunity to change the entire environment, because we were going from mechanical to semiconductor to solid state. That meant we could go from managing things very mechanically to have software that really changed the way a (storage) system would operate.”

Today, said Giancarlo, the company is an industry that is “going to be a fundamental part of making the world a better place.

“If data centres are continuing to advance and if we are going to advance the ability to analyze data, then data storage and management has to advance at the same rate as the rest of the industry.”

Several of those advances were launched at Pure//Accelerate, key among them being the “first of its kind” ransomware recovery service level agreement (SLA) guaranteeing a clean storage environment following an attack for Evergreen//One customers.

“The growing complexity and sophistication of the current threat landscape has made cybersecurity incidents a matter of when, not if,” the company stated in a release. “As cybercriminals continue to mature in their technical prowess, including the use of cutting-edge advancements in AI, organizations require the ability to control uncertainty in order to truly mitigate the risk and impact of a ransomware incident, but not at the cost of the agility needed to deliver continuous innovation.”

Prakash Darji, the vice president and general manager of Pure Storage’s digital experience (DX) business unit, said the demand “to achieve business outcomes faster is only becoming more critical amid the uptick in malicious cyber attacks. The latest expansion of Evergreen//One delivers data storage infrastructure with built-in resilience, empowering customers with peace of mind.”

In an interview with IT World Canada prior to the event, Taruna Gandhi, vice president of product marketing with the DX division, said that in the case of an attack, the infected arrays are taken out of production, and may be taken away either for a forensic investigation or by law enforcement or for insurance claims. An organization could find itself short of resources at a time when it is the most vulnerable.

“In addition to shipping them clean recovery arrays, we will work with the customers to create a recovery plan. And we will also provide them an on site professional services engineer who will work with them for the implementation of that recovery plan.”

According to a blog issued by the company about the new SLA, “When it comes to the ‘after’ of an event, many organizations overlook a critical fact of ransomware attacks: Your existing arrays will be off-limits. That means that any affected array flagged for forensic investigation by insurance or law enforcement cannot be used, and needs to be left alone. Without the data storage infrastructure to get systems back up and running, you are stuck.”

Features of the service include:

  • Next business day shipping of clean recovery array(s) in North America, Europe, and the U.K.. For Asia-Pacific it will be 48 hours
  • The ability to finalize a recovery plan within 48 hours
  • 8 TiB/hour data transfer rate
  • Bundled services, including technical services engineering to finalize the recovery plan and an onsite professional services engineer from time of array arrival through replacement of infected array(s)

Also launched was an expansion of the company’s Pure//E line. The smallest FlashBlade//E, released in the spring, was a 4PB model, which was too large for some customers. The addition of the FlashArray//E, Pure said, “delivers on the promise to relieve customers from the constraints of disk. FlashArray//E will expand customers’ options to tackle data growth down to 1PB without the need for frustrating offline archives or expanding expensive disk systems.”

According to a release, data “continues to grow at a monumental rate. This is unsustainable for large-capacity, price-sensitive workloads leveraging legacy and disk-based storage solutions that are ill-equipped to manage growing demand.

“While enterprises have found short-term solutions to manage the limitations and expense of disk – including taking data offline to be archived on systems that take up to several days to get back – temporary fixes significantly slow the pace of the business.”

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Paul Barker
Paul Barker
Paul Barker is the founder of PBC Communications, an independent writing firm that specializes in freelance journalism. He has extensive experience as a reporter, feature writer and editor and has been covering technology-related issues for more than 30 years.

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