Pure Storage has announced two new product solutions as part of their 2021 Pure//Launch event. Both offerings are service-focused, while one also moves the company further up the stack into the data and applications space. We look at the announcements in more detail.
Update: 18th May 2022. Pure Storage has announced the general availability of Portworx Data Services. See this press release for more information.
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Today’s announcement covers two main products:
- Fusion – a SaaS management plane for the administration of Pure Storage hardware resources and Portworx applications.
- Portworx Data Services – a SaaS platform that delivers the capability to deploy managed databases on Kubernetes environments running Portworx Enterprise.
Both solutions highlight a transition towards software-as-a-service and regular recurring income. Fusion (by its very name) brings together all the existing storage solutions (FlashArray, FlashBlade, Cloud Block Store) to a single point of management. Portworx Data Services is the entry point to a range of managed data services, initially starting with managed databases.
Fusion is a new SaaS management plane for Pure Storage hardware and software solutions. Through Fusion, customers can now manage all the storage assets in their data centres (or elsewhere) through an online portal that extends the capabilities of the existing Pure1 management tool.
Customers divide their storage estate into tenants and use storage classes to create policies for data placement and management. In the background, Fusion (via machine learning) manages the physical location of data, using tools such as ActiveCluster to optimise placement and the use of resources while meeting the requirements of the storage class definitions and data protection policies.
Fusion effectively implements policy-based management of data, a concept anyone using VMware virtualisation will find familiar (think DRS and Storage DRS). The use of policies abstracts requirements away from the underlying hardware used to deliver the capabilities needed by the application.
Over time, as hardware changes, new solutions can be assigned to deliver the policies required, allowing Pure Storage to optimise the hardware in place without compromising on the needs of the application. This approach is essential in providing cost-efficient infrastructure as a service.
Portworx Data Services
Portworx Data Services or PDS is an extension of the capabilities of Portworx Enterprise (PX-Enterprise). PDS moves “up the stack”, providing the ability to deploy managed databases on Kubernetes infrastructure, using PX-Enterprise as the persistent data layer. Portworx Data Services is delivered as a SaaS offering, using a local Operator in the Kubernetes cluster to provide the on-premises (or on-cloud) interface.
The term “managed” is, of course, open to interpretation. In the case of PDS, the managed capabilities include one-click (or API call) deployment, initial sizing and data protection. The initial choice of databases is expected to be comprehensive, including relational, NoSQL, key/value and other application types. This page from the Portworx website already offers guidance for installing database applications with PX-Enterprise, so it’s no surprise that the capability has been taken one step further as a managed solution.
From an initial set of features focused on deployment, upgrade, and management, we can extrapolate the intention of Portworx Data Services to extend features into data mobility, cloning, on-demand restores, and other functionality that provides developers with a more seamless application management experience.
The announcement of Fusion and Portworx Data Services is the continuing evolution of the Pure Storage “Digital Experience”. The public cloud has changed the operating model for both cloud and on-premises infrastructure consumption, with the effect that customers expect more than tin-shipping from their vendors. Today, customers expect value-add that comes for “free” in the public cloud. This is a topic we’ll discuss in a follow-up post.
The Architect’s View®
Pure//Launch is an exciting move for Pure Storage, a company with a strong heritage of on-premises hardware. Storage vendors across the board are looking to build out a more cloud-like experience while moving customers to a consumption-based recurring revenue model. Fusion sets the scene for advanced fleet management that wouldn’t be possible without specific hardware features like ActiveCluster and API automation. Portworx Data Services offers higher-level capabilities with a charging model that can emulate the public cloud.
We dive deeper into the implications of these two announcements in this post (registration required) that provides analysis on the announcements in more detail.
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