Data centers interested in flash-based drives have a new choice with the release Tuesday of what its maker describes as the first "true" all-flash enterprise array. Enterprise-focused storage firm Pure Storage said its FlashArray FA-300 Series is less than the cost of comparable disk-centric arrays.
In its data-center tests, the company said the FA-300 delivered up to 20x in-line data reduction, and that makes it feasible for IT departments to use all-flash storage for virtual servers, virtual desktops, database needs, and cloud environments.
While there are other flash-based enterprise arrays, Pure said its FlashArray supports native high availability through active/active controllers, plug compatibility via standard SAN interconnects, and scalability up to hundreds of terabytes in a single array. The company noted that the drive's software, Purity Operating Environment, was designed and built "from the ground up" for solid-state memory in the enterprise, with performance management and services for data integrity and hardware resiliency.
Jeff Janukowicz, an analyst with industry research firm IDC, noted that other companies with flash-based arrays for enterprises include Texas Memory Systems, Nimbus Data, and Violin Memory. "What Pure Storage has done," he said, "is bring in other enterprise-like features," including compression and reliability.
Pure, whose investors include Samsung, said FlashArray was not retrofitted into an array, but designed and built specifically for enterprise use. It said the use of MLC flash with in-line data reduction helps deliver a dollars-per-usable-gigabyte cost that is less than other kinds of storage arrays -- about half the price at a 10:1 data-reduction ratio. The product, the company added, offers "the industry's first in-line deduplication and compression that can deliver consistent sub-millisecond latency."
For data-center energy management, the new array requires one-tenth the power of regular disk-based storage, the company said. Pure also pointed to its RAID-3D design, intended to guard against flash's particular kinds of failure. For example, there are three layers of independent parity, which help to protect against losses in multiple drives, flash bit errors, and performance variability.
While flash memory is widely used for consumer mobile devices, and has started appearing in data centers, its use in enterprises has, until recently, been for specific, specialized purposes or in hybrid systems. Key bottlenecks to adoption have been the price compared to the same storage on traditional hard drives, and the speed of data access and retrieval. Pure said it's able to cut prices because it uses consumer-grade chips governed by enterprise-grade software.
Janukowicz said that, while he won't predict the industry is at a point where an entire data center might go solid state, this year is "a turning point." He said there was "roughly $850 million spent in 2010 on enterprise SSDs," and IDC is predicting that will increase 80 percent this year.
Posted: 2011-10-19 @ 7:42pm PT
Scott - ever hear of the term "effective capacity" and its associated TCO principles.... learn it and stop embarrassing yourself
Posted: 2011-08-23 @ 11:15am PT
Funny that Pure says they are the first "True" all Flash Enterprise array when in April of 2010 Nimbus Data Systems launched the first All Flash Enterprise array.
Quoting Cost per GB based on "Deduped GB" is plain irresponsible. Everyone knows dedupe/compression savings will vary greatly depending on application, data type, and other factors. Since PureStorage is claiming $5/GB assuming 80% dedupe/compression reduction, that really means they are charging $25/GB for the actual capacity, making their solution the most expensive consumer-grade MLC-based storage product on the planet.