Pure Gold: Flash Vendor Predicts 30%-Plus CAGR, $35-Billion TAM

SAN FRANCISCO: Pure Storage has made it to the big leagues, having outfought, out-thought and outlasted the hordes of competitors in the enterprise flash storage market, which is experiencing explosive growth in the rapidly emerging digital transformation/big data and analytics/Internet of Things world. No longer relegated to the ‘Others’ category, it is a top-five player that looks too big to buy (Dell EMC, like James Bond, proves you should Never Say Never Again, but an acquisition — or at least a suitable acquisitor — appears unlikely) and too small to thrive without some help, typically a significant barrier to entry like proprietary (and popular) intellectual property, large installed base or deep pockets. With both the $1-billion revenue plateau and its first quarterly profit within reach in calendar 2017, the Puritan elders — AKA its senior executives — are predicting even bigger things to come, like at least three more years of 30%-plus revenue growth, surpassing the $2-billion annual revenue mark by 2020. That prediction was just one of the items announced to more than 3,000 customers, partners and staff (with another 2,000 online, for a total increase of 300% over last year’s inaugural event), at this week’s Pure//Accelerate 2017. Unlike the overall enterprise storage market, which continues to see capacity shipment growth at the expense of revenue and margin growth, the flash market, especially all flash arrays (AFAs), is growing explosively — 48% in the first quarter. Sales were a little over $1.3 billion, with Pure Storage holding down fourth place with 12% market share, behind Dell EMC (29%), NetApp (21%), HPE (17%), and comfortably ahead of IBM (7%). “All-flash array is the only segment growing in the external storage market space,” said Jimmy Yu, Dell’Oro Group vice president, in a statement. “While the total market for external storage has contracted for the past two years, and will likely decline again this year, all flash storage system sales are reaching all new highs. We predict all-flash array revenue to grow approximately 40 percent in 2017 to reach nearly $7 billion while disk and hybrid storage system revenues decline about 14 percent.” AFA’s future is looking even brighter, according to both flash guru Jim Handy, GM of semiconductor research group, Objective Analysis, and Gartner. Handy expects a manufacturing breakthrough in high-capacity 3D NAND chips next year that will further lower AFA prices. Gartner is predicting that half of all data centers will only use AFA for primary storage by 2020, with the market growing to $9.67 billion. Pure believes the total addressable market for its faster solid-state storage arrays is $35 billion. Dave Vellante, chief analyst of Wikibon, agrees the...

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Pure Flash: Catching Up Or Racing Ahead?
Jun15

Pure Flash: Catching Up Or Racing Ahead?

SAN FRANCISCO: There were a number of product announcements, some fascinating market research, and insights into the future provided at, and leading up to, this week’s Pure//Accelerate 2017, the second annual customer/partner event from enterprise flash storage market light-heavyweight Pure Storage, Nearing the $1-billion revenue mark, the company is comfortably in the top five flash vendors and offers an interesting perspective on where the market is, and where it might be going. The company’s marketing slogan — or at least one of them — is software-driven, hardware-accelerated, so it’s appropriate that there were more than 25 software announcements, all delivered in evergreen, all seamless upgrades. “Our core DNA is software,” said Scott ‘Dietz’ Dietzen, CEO of Pure Storage. The announcements included: Pure1 META, it’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform for delivering on the vision of self-driving storage; its vision for the data platform for the cloud era; major updates to its flagship software, Purity, Purity for FlashArray 5.0, and Purity for FlashBlade 2.0; and Purity CloudSnap, which extends Purity’s Snapshots to FlashBlade, NFS, and the public cloud. In April Pure announced FlashArray//X, the first mainstream all-NVMe FlashArray,  a new protocol for communicating with flash that provides the ‘low-latency and parallelism that promises to take the potential of flash to new heights,’ blogged Max Kixmoeller, Pure’s VP, Products. A month later it launched the NVMe Now promotion, an extension to the company’s TB-for-TB trade-in program Evergreen Storage. Through October 31, 2017, organizations using VMAX and XtremIO can upgrade to FlashArray//X, providing customers a “total cost of ownership savings of close to 50 percent over six years.” When asked how Pure’s portfolio now compares to the competition, storage guru Mark Peters, ESG Practice Director and Senior Analyst (Storage), Enterprise Strategy Group, gave them a solid ‘B’ and said they are now comparable, with the following caveats. It depends on how your define their competition and how you define their portfolio, he explained. “Assuming you are comparing to other AFA folks and just on the product rather than all the consumption and support choices, then they are now (at last) at least on par… maybe even with some nice advanced differentiators. If you compare to a broader storage, HCI or IT provider, clearly they have a long way to go.” If you assume it’s by how you define their portfolio, he views it as an iceberg. “To date we are only seeing a small % above the water (hence the solid “B”….but their architecture and approach means that their portfolio has immense extensibility — we are just not exposed to it all yet (so maybe an A’).” At least one competitor appears concerned about...

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IBM Continues to Advance Its Strategic Storage Investments

In 2015, IBM announced that it would spend $1 billion on software-defined storage (SDS) R&D over the coming five years. Recent enhancements in its SDS portfolio — namely the IBM Spectrum Storage family — reflect how that ongoing investment is benefiting storage users and IBM customers. IBM Spectrum Storage family: Responding to changing times Regarding IBM’s Spectrum Storage family, recall what SDS is and why just one product won’t do. SDS decouples the software that manages storage from the underlying physical storage hardware. That increases the flexibility of deployment. So customers can choose to use software-only with virtually any heterogeneous storage systems, i.e., not necessarily IBM storage, although all or part of the mix could include IBM equipment. A second SDS deployment model is with an appliance. In the case of selected IBM Spectrum Storage products, the software can be sold with specific IBM hardware making it a more traditional approach, but it also means that the software can take fuller advantage of the underlying physical hardware. An example is the tight coupling of the IBM DeepFlash 150 with IBM Spectrum Scale that results in a high-capacity, all-flash (meaning high performance) system (called DeepFlash Elastic Storage Server) with the scale-out file management capabilities. A third SDS deployment model is as the foundation of a cloud service. Since the “cloud” in its many permutations and manifestations continues to proliferate applications and data, SDS can provide the support needed for accompanying storage systems. But why the need for multiple products? The answer is that the variety of applications and data types continues to explode in numerous dimensions, all of them additive with none taken away. Traditional block-based, structured data online transaction processing systems and file-based systems, such as for semi-structured data as document management, are still critically important. But now, big data, Internet of Things, Web-based applications, and mobile applications are taking center stage, as well. NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review. For more information, CLICK HERE NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT...

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Data Protection: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
Jun29

Data Protection: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

’The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ was Clint Eastwood’ last and best spaghetti western, and it’s also a very popular description of the cybersecurity industry, to which I will now shamelessly expropriate to describe the findings from EMC’s new global enterprise backup survey, ‘Are You Protected?’. Similar to virtually every other security study I see, the survey reports improvements in some areas, some problems in other areas, and the usual plug for new solutions that will make you more secure, less vulnerable or more likely fall somewhere in between. The survey results are very topical, said Peter Smails, VP, Marketing, Core Technologies, EMC. It also gives the company, which will soon become part of Dell, an opportunity “to talk about everything we’re doing to address those challenges.” While I found it interesting that this conversation was held with EMC, and not RSA, it’s security business, Smails told IT Trends & Analysis who better to address data protection than the company that stores most of that data. The key findings of the survey of IT decision makers at 2,200 organizations included: -incidents of traditional data loss and disruption are down since 2014, but new challenges mean 13% more businesses experienced loss overall; -over half of businesses fail to protect data in the cloud despite more than 80% indicating they will rely on SaaS-based business applications; -36% have lost data in the last year as the result of a security breach; -73% are not very confident they can protect flash storage environments; and, -the average cost of data loss is more than $914,000. People are getting smarter about data protection, said Smails, but they continue to experience data loss. “You need to be vigilant. The world is evolving quickly.” According to a new RSA survey, 75% of survey respondents have a significant cybersecurity risk exposure, and nearly half characterized essential Incident Response (IR) capabilities as ‘ad hoc’ or ‘non-existent’. “We need to change the way we are thinking about security, to focus on more than just prevention – to develop a strategy that emphasizes detection and response,” stated RSA President Amit Yoran. As noted in Sea Of Alarms, one of cybersecurity’s biggest problems isn’t finding a problem, but rather finding and dealing with the most pressing problem. According to a recent survey, nearly 74% of those surveyed reported that security events/alerts are simply ignored because their teams can’t keep up with the suffocating volume. Then there was the new ‘new’ study I just received which identified complext IT security as a growing problem. According to security vendor IS Decisions’ survey of 250 US organizations, on average each employee loses 21.88...

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Flash Forward, London: refreshing purpose and content

The recent — and inaugural — Flash Forward conference in London was significant for being a non-vendor specific, storage-focused event. There’s precious few of this species left and we have not had a new one in a while. This one was substantial enough to have attracted a good number and mix of sponsors and speakers (from organizations both large and small), and yet intimate enough that everyone could have real conversations and get their questions answered. The need for this type of event is clear; while there was a period when excitement and indeed innovation in storage and data management was waning (we could argue the dates but let’s say it peaked 5-10 years ago), what is abundantly clear of late is that storage — aka data, aka information, aka the ability to get anything done in IT — is categorically center stage. To read the complete article, CLICK...

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