Roughly a month prior to Pure Storage’s flagship Accelerate event in Austin, the firm’s Brent Allen, surrounded by partners, clients, colourful drinks and loud music, explained how he’s not part of one of those companies that introduces new technology into the market only to be overrun by the established players.
“Even though we’re in markets where we aren’t the incumbents or don’t hold a bulk of the market share, we see those as opportunities for us,” the Canadian country manager told CDN at Toronto’s waterfront Cabana Pool Bar recently, where the storage vendor was hosting its client appreciation event.
Pure Storage has been focused on aggressive expansion in Canada since 2015. Its enterprise data flash storage solutions, designed to replace the traditional disk arrays still found in thousands of IT shops across the world, has been met with open arms since the company’s inception in 2009.
Allen, who had been part of Cisco Canada’s team for several years, was hired by the company in 2017. Since he joined, Pure Storage has invested heavily in the Canadian market. Sales, engineering, channel and marketing teams across the country, he said, are receiving significant boosts.
“Early on it was quickly realized that the major markets within Canada had to be supported and covered – Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver. But now we’re looking at expanding in to the Atlantic provinces, and we’re going to cover more of Western Canada as well,” he explained. “We want to have that local presence. When we talk about customer intimacy, we mean it.”
With hybrid cloud becoming the logical path forward for enterprises looking to manage and store troves of data, pure play storage vendors like Pure Storage and NetApp are finding plenty of opportunities despite established players like Dell EMC and HPE still throwing their weight around.
Shawn Rosemarin, Pure Storage’s vice-president of worldwide systems engineering, tried to explain the company’s strategy during the appreciation event. While detailing Pure Storage’s history, its popular all-flash storage system FlashArray and its ancillary system FlashBlade, Rosemarin frequently circled back to one point – simplicity.
“We are dead simple. I have been in the infrastructure circuit for 22 years, and when I was selling against Pure, I said they can’t possibly be that simple. But now that I’m here…I can tell you, it actually is that simple,” he said. “Your job as IT partners and architects is to support the business at whatever speed they move, and support the business with whatever apps they deploy.”
The company’s Evergreen Storage Service, ES2, is a key part of message. It offers storage-as-a-service on an OPEX model for private and hybrid clouds, and was first introduced in May 2018 for on-premises environments. This April it was expanded into hybrid and backup environments as well. Combine that with the fact that its hybrid cloud data services are extended to include Azure, AWS and the Google Cloud Platform, customers and partners are looking at a pretty compelling storage platform, suggested Rosemarin.
Kent MacDonald, senior vice-president of strategic alliances at Long View Systems – a Pure Storage partner – described the storage vendor as a disruptive force in the Canadian market.
“They’re a serious competitor in the marketplace,” he said.