Pure Storage Launches All-Flash FA-400 Arrays

By Pedro Hernandez

Pure Storage, the enterprise flash storage pure-play, today announced the third generation of its FlashArray hardware and its underlying operating software. The Mountain View Calif.-based startup has begun to ship its new FlashArray 400 Series of storage systems and Purity Operating Environment 3.0 software.

Pure Storage FA-400 controllers house two Intel 8-core "Sandy Bridge" processors, enabling the arrays to deliver up to 400,000 8K IOPs. Not content to double the performance of its predecessor, the FlashArray 300, Pure Storage says that the new arrays offer up to "up to 100TB of usable all-flash capacity." The 2U rackmount systems pack 192 GB RAM connect to the network via four 8Gb/s Fibre Channel ports or four 10Gb/s Ethernet iSCSI connections.

More potent components aside, Pure Storage is also wooing IT managers with new storage management capabilities.

Purity 3.0, FlashArray's newly-updated storage operating system, provides storage administrators with "non-disruptive everything" maintenance and upgrade procedures. Pure Storage claims that organizations can practically make any change to a FlashArray, including software updates and capacity expansion, "with zero downtime or performance impact."

Data security gets a boost with always-on, data-at-rest 256-bit AES encryption and a locked-down,  multi-admin secure administration environment. The company's new CloudAssist support services employ analytics and crowdsourced intelligence from its cloud-connected customers to issue problem alerts and even initiate proactive maintenance, with a customer's permission, of course.

In VMware vSphere environments, Purity's new ZeroSnap Accelerated Virtual Machine Cloning feature "allows a typical virtual machine clone operation to be offloaded 100% to the FlashArray, enabling 1,000 VMs to be cloned in less than 30 minutes (~2 seconds each)," boasts the company. Following up on the company's OpenStack CINDER driver, Pure is extending support for third party applications and operating environments with support for IBM AIX ACA, VMware vSphere VAAI xCopy and iSCSI support for the vSphere Web Client.

All told, the combo helps give Pure Storage a leg up in the fast-growing enterprise flash storage market, according to IDC research director Dan Iacono. "IDC has forecasted the all-flash storage array market to reach $1.2 billion in revenue by 2015, with a forecasted 58.5% CAGR over the forecast period," he informed in a statement.

"The FlashArray 400-Series includes enterprise features such as non-disruptive upgrades, enhanced data security, broader third-party application support and a cloud-based support model, which should position Pure Storage well," added Iacono.

The technology has already attracted the attention of In-Q-Tel (IQT), a not-for-profit strategic investment firm that focuses on tech for the U.S. Intelligence Community. Pure announced that IQT has made an investment of an unspecified amount in the startup. The companies have also inked an agreement to develop high-performance FlashArray-based storage systems for intelligence agencies.

"This solution has great potential to address critical reliability, performance, efficiency and data storage cost requirements for the U.S. Intelligence Community," said T.J. Rylander, an IQT Investments partner.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

This article was originally published on May 29, 2013