Pure Storage pays the freight for storage-as-a-service and aims to simplify data resilience

This syndicated post originally appeared at Zeus Kerravala – SiliconANGLE.

Pure Storage Inc. today made several announcements aimed at further bringing a cloudlike operating model to storage and simplifying data resilience.

First, the company released a set of data resilience offerings, including Pure Protect//DRaaS, which it says is a disaster recovery-as-a-service solution, new energy efficiency guarantees for its Evergreen products, and scalable artificial intelligence-powered storage services aimed at global enterprises through its Pure1 management platform.

The company also deepened its Evergreen portfolio, introducing a novel commitment to pay its customers’ power and rack space costs for the Evergreen//One Storage-as-a-Service and Evergreen//Flex subscription. Plus, it said it formalizes its no-data-migration and zero-data-loss guarantees. Across its Evergreen portfolio, the company will also offer upgrades and financing.

I had an exclusive briefing with Prakash Darji, vice president and general manager of Pure Storage’s Digital Experience business unit, who gave me some background on these announcements. He told me that, from a hardware standpoint, Pure Storage is doubling down on something it has been doing for a while. The company has spent the past decade working on its Evergreen architecture, cost efficiency and the labor an enterprise needs to run and operate its storage endpoints.

“Modern storage is a distributed cloud environment,” he said. “You have to think about this operating model in a location-agnostic way and manage it non-disruptively across all these endpoints. We’ve been modernizing storage for 10 years, and we’re expanding that for the next decade. So, for Evergreen//One and Evergreen//Flex, since we’re running our storage in a customer’s data center, we will pay for the power and rack bills we consume.”

First let’s look at the specifics of the announcements:

Data resilience

Pure Storage announced a goal to maximize enterprise data protection with a multilayered data resilience strategy. The company’s Pure Protect//DRaaS is a new consumption-based disaster recovery-as-a-service solution that the company says will reduce complexity, cost, recovery time and business disruption caused by disasters and cyber disruptions. The company says it will ensure data protection with advanced data recovery services for any hardware or software product-related incidents at no cost.

In addition, Pure Storage says, its AI-powered asset and lifecycle management services and policy-based automation will help customers with asset management and genealogy, subscription lifecycle operations and policy-driven upgrades.

I’ve worked at and with many organizations regarding their disaster recovery plans, and few do it well, primarily because of the complexity of coordinating so many moving parts. By offering it as a service, Pure Storage is simplifying the deployment by masking the complexity behind a services wrapper. Getting disaster recovery right is critical for large organizations, and Pure Storage’s offering can help its customers have confidence they can recover data when needed.

Power and rack space costs

Pure Storage is also committed to paying its customers’ power and rack costs. The company will pay for the power and rack unit costs associated with Evergreen//One Storage as-a-Service and Evergreen//Flex subscriptions. The company will also expand its power and space guarantee to support customers who’d rather own their storage via an Evergreen//Forever subscription.

In what it bills as “Future-Proof Business Guarantees,” the company is helping its Evergreen//One, Evergreen//Flex and Evergreen//Forever customers mitigate unplanned costs due to data loss incidents. With its zero-data-loss guarantee, which carries no additional cost, Pure will assure data protection with advanced data recovery services for any hardware or software product-related incidents. Similarly, its no-data-migration guarantee says technology upgrades will be seamless without needing to migrate data.

“Since we introduced Evergreen a decade ago, we’ve always said Pure is the last data migration you will ever do,” Darji said. “You will never have to migrate your data again. And now we’re putting it in our contract, saying, ‘There’s no data migration and no data loss, and if there is, we will give you a credit for your service.’ We’re standing behind something we’ve already done by putting a guarantee and then SLA behind it.”

These announcements are intriguing, and something Pure Storage has differentiated itself on for years. I’ve long felt it would be impossible for the company to guarantee no data migration in perpetuity. Architectures change as technologies do, but Pure Storage has worked hard to ensure backward compatibility. Now, it’s putting its money where its mouth is and guaranteeing it.

The guarantee should provide a level of reassurance for its enterprise customers. In addition, the idea that Pure will pay power and rack costs is interesting on the surface. Of course, nothing is free — those costs are baked into the contract somewhere.

It’s important to understand that Pure Storage’s as-a-service offering is designed to change the economic model and the operational processes inside a company. Almost all hardware vendors have subscription offerings, but most address how customers pay. For example, Dell’s APEX is a cobbled together as-a-service solution that lets customers buy hardware for a monthly fee. Although this has some budgetary benefits, the customer still operates the infrastructure they way they did before.

Juxtapose this with Pure Storage, which offloads most of the complicated, mundane and nagging concerns from the customer to itself bring cloudlike operations to on-premises infrastructure. Information technology departments have never been more overtaxed and are concerned with digital transformation, employee and customer experience, and cost-cutting. Pure Storage’s as-a-service offering can address all of those.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.