This week, Pure Storage announced disaster recovery-as-a-service, rebates on power and rack space costs, with some new additional SLA-backed guarantees. We dig into the details of what was announced.
At Pure//Accelerate London 2023, Pure Storage made three announcements covering service offerings under the Evergreen brand. These are:
- Customer rebates for rack space and power costs for Evergreen//One and Evergreen//Flex customers.
- New service level guarantees covering data durability (Zero Data Loss) and eliminating forklift upgrades (No Data Migration).
- Disaster Recovery, offered as a service.
These three announcements all focus on improving the quality of storage delivered as a service through the Evergreen programme.
Power and Rack Space Rebate
In what is probably a first for the storage industry, Pure Storage will refund customers on the Evergreen//One and Evergreen//Flex programmes for a nominal amount representing the cost of power consumption and rack space for Pure Storage solutions deployed in the customer’s data centre.
The rebate is determined based on the products deployed with a minimum capacity and a nominal calculation created from typical power costs by country. Pure Storage worked with partners, including Equinix, Digital Realty and the IEA, to model expenses that would be incurred over the term of a subscription for services (for example, one, three or five years).
Pure Storage will return that cost to the customer in the form of either a rebate in cash or as credits for future purchases. The cash option enables money to be returned elsewhere within an organisation if, for example, power is not cross-charged by facilities teams.
Why would Pure Storage offer customers money back to use its products? We can compare the rebate programme to the difference between leasing and hiring a car (in the UK sense of these words). With a lease, the vehicle is effectively rented for a fixed period, but the customer pays for the running costs (fuel and consumables). In the hiring scenario (a taxi, Uber, or Lyft, for example), the customer pays a fixed fee for the service offered – a journey between two locations in this instance. The cost of delivering the service is covered by the taxi company.
Most vendor-designed storage-as-a-service offerings tend to operate more like leases, where the customer is responsible for running costs. A genuine service should be more like the hiring example, where the delivery costs are inclusive of the price charged.
Pure Storage has announced two new guarantees. The first is a durability guarantee, offering service credits in the event that data is lost due to issues with the hardware. The second is a guarantee on data migration, committing to no forklift upgrades from the customer’s perspective.
Five years ago, we wrote about the concept of the forklift upgrade. Data migrations used to be costly, time-consuming and impactful to the business. Many storage vendors would offer to cover the cost of migration as part of a hardware replacement, although those charges would simply be hidden in the cost of the hardware.
Pure Storage has been able to deliver against the no migration guarantee since the first FA-320 FlashArray in 2012 because every generation of hardware has been field-replaceable without needing to physically move data between systems. This is a direct saving to customers of the migration cost or the embedded cost from vendors offering to fund the migration overhead.
Pure Protect //DRaaS is a new product offering from Pure Storage. DRaaS is driven through Pure1, operating at the virtual instance level. In the first release, DRaaS will support VMware vSphere disaster recovery operations to and from the AWS public cloud. This includes instance conversion to AWS AMI format.
The Pure Protect //DRaaS offering is interesting because it’s the first service from Pure Storage that doesn’t relate directly to storage. Although the replication mechanism is based on VMware Storage APIs, the unit of granularity is the application. Neither the source nor the target need to be using Pure’s storage solutions.
The Architect’s View®
Giving customers money back for power and rack space consumed is a noble gesture, but not done for altruistic reasons. Pure Storage knows that its products continue to be efficient compared to competitors in the market, with that level of efficiency expected to significantly improve in the coming years (relative to the competition).
We also see another angle. That’s in response to the use of storage in the public cloud. On-premises hardware and storage in cloud platforms need to become more equitable by moving to a consumption-based model. That means eliminating or obfuscating the non-service parts of that process and making it easier to do comparisons.
With respect to service level guarantees, it makes sense for Pure Storage to highlight the unique features of its platforms that other vendors can’t easily match. SLAs are a simple way to achieve this goal. There are no globally accepted “SLA standards”, so why not create your own and use them to reflect the positive aspects of your products?
The new disaster recovery service is probably the most interesting of the current announcements. Note the branding – “Pure Protect //DRaaS”, which leaves an opening for other protection options in the Pure Protect family, including backup and ransomware recovery as specific services.
While Pure Storage has always been a product-led company, the transition to services has been in place for some time (including Evergreen offerings and Portworx Data Services). It is difficult to calculate how long it will take for DRaaS and the Portworx solutions to be impactful on revenue, but we know that selling services can be more lucrative than selling hardware. Pure Storage is making a long-term bet on a services strategy, building the service concept into everything it does, including hardware, software, and commercial terms.
X-Ray: Pure Storage, Inc.
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