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Why the old NAS market needs a shakeup...

Written on: Feb 15, 2024 2:15:53 PM

Written by: Alex Raben


[COOLSPIRiT, Pure Storage, Hybrid Infrastructure]

The first truly Unified Block and File Platform is now generally available worldwide from Pure Storage. It’s designed from the ground up for simplicity and elegance, where block, file, and VMs are all first-class citizens.

We’ve all been there. You walk into an old hotel lobby and there it is—green carpet, gold trim, and the old linoleum. Even with a surface renovation, you’re still stuck with the old air conditioner that rattles at night. 

Technology can fall into that trap too. Companies, once great, don’t keep pace and stay modern. They get stuck in a decades-old blueprint—and then something new comes that shakes things up. 

Experiencing this firsthand in the storage industry in the late ’90s. You would see a market leader that couldn’t react to a wave of startups that were much easier to deploy, and designed fresh for the new world of IP networks. Our legacy architecture was an anchor. As they say, the rest was history. 

The Aging Multi-protocol Array

So here we are, decades later, and it’s time for another industry shake-up. Remember that old hotel lobby? Well, today’s storage “lobby” is frozen in time with a 30-year-old architecture, complete with linoleum!

Last week, the IT leader of one of the largest enterprises complained: “I hate NAS storage upgrades. Not to mention the complexity…” He explained he loved how easy block was with Pure, but couldn’t we just make his NAS filer pain go away?

What was unsaid was why: Over two decades, “multi-protocol NAS” has become overgrown. What was promised as harmonious unity between block and file turned to bolt-on features and complexity. The legacy architecture looks something like this:

Unified Block

Figure 1: Legacy Multi-protocol Architectures.

Like roommates who had a falling out, the workloads may physically be in the same building, but they live in separate worlds. They perpetually are in imbalance: one dominant and the other weak. As scale increases, so does the pain and operating costs. To avoid running out of space, everything has to be meticulously pre-planned. Changing anything brings death closer and closer: the dreaded file migration. So admins hunker down, add rigidity and lag time. This only becomes worse as more workloads are consolidated at petabyte-scale. 

How did we end up here again? The new has become the old. And what do we hear most often? “Just make the complexity go away. There has to be a better way!” 

Introducing the Unified Block and File Platform

Pure Storage has launched the first truly Unified Block and File Platform, now generally available worldwide. Designed from the ground up for simplicity and elegance, where block, file, and VMs are all first-class citizens. Pure have built a modern architecture without the shortcomings of bolt-on approaches, period. 

This is made possible with three new essential features:

  • Global storage pool: Eliminates the need to pre-plan storage updates and requests. Simply use what you need, across block and file, and non-disruptively expand on the fly with unlimited file system sizes. 
  • Unified policy management: Eliminates disjointed models across block and file, dramatically simplifying administration. Operations can be learned quickly and applied everywhere.
  • VM-aware NFS storage: Grants deep visibility at the granularity of the virtual machine, instead of aggregate file system level. Administrators can natively manage VMs on FlashArray™, including VM-level statistics, snapshots, quotas, and policies.  


Figure 2: The Modern, Unified Block and File Platform.

Most importantly, Pure bring what customers love most about Pure to the traditional NAS file market: a dramatically easier, modern management model; and with Evergreen®, the ability to continuously get better, without disruption. To illustrate the power of this, existing Pure customers just need to upgrade to the latest version of Purity software to activate this. No new NAS controller, no separate hardware models. It just works.  

To learn more about the Unified Block and File Platform in detail, read Pure's technical blog post here.

Now, with FlashArray and FlashBlade®, Pure provides wide coverage for major file use cases across your entire data center. This release will support consolidation for VMware and NFS data stores, user directories and profiles, content repositories, data protection, and backup. The Pure portfolio provides the industry’s broadest support for the most performance intensive and scalable workloads like analytics/AI and HPC/technical computing.   

What Makes a Modern Storage Platform Different

What makes this a modern storage platform? Pure is simpler. With the Purity software platform and only two, built from the ground up, hardware platforms (scale up and scale out, sharing the same DirectFlash® Modules) and a single management system, Pure accelerates development and speed as it gains momentum and scale. Other vendors struggle under the technical debt of maintaining many loosely integrated platforms from decades of acquisitions. This faster rate of development makes this revolution in unified block and file possible.

Pure is the most reliable data storage company on the planet, approaching seven nines (99.99999%) of up-time across its entire install base. With this, Pure is more than 10 times more reliable than platforms from legacy vendors that max out at five nines, technically limited because of scheduled maintenance and disruptive upgrades every five to seven years. With this release, the impact of non-disruptive upgrades to reliability applies to consolidated file workloads. 

Pure technology has been built from the beginning for all-flash, rapidly replacing spinning hard disks everywhere in the data center because of dramatically better power, cooling, and reliability. This has accelerated with the recent launch of FlashBlade//E™, built to help customers by providing all-flash at disk economics. Have your cake and eat it too. This price/performance leadership benefit in all-flash now accrues to unified block and file workloads.

Lastly, Pure is the only company with a unified, radically simple architecture that provides an automated virtualized storage pool across arrays. This will only continue to get better as simplicity makes it possible to provide a truly automated cloud operating model in your data center. 

It is an exciting time to be in modern data storage! We invite you to join us in the journey to revolutionize data storage. You don’t have to settle for old green carpet and the rattling air conditioner! It’s a simpler step than you think. 

“Any company that continues to operate in silos will find themselves at a serious disadvantage when they are attacked." - Reza Morakobati, CIO

As the threat landscape expands and attacks become more sophisticated, domains across IT will join forces to prevent intrusion and speed recovery. Collaboration between IT Operations (ITOps) and Security Operations (SecOps) teams will continue to evolve in 2024 because as any company that continues to operate in silos will find themselves at a serious disadvantage when they are attacked. With intelligence from tools across networking, security, cloud, and other IT groups combined, cybersecurity professionals can more quickly identify anomalous behavior that is an early indicator of an attack. Breaking down silos among teams and building common goals for IT pros will make businesses stronger against attacks and faster at recovery.




Blog credit: Shawn Hansen (Pure Storage)

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Our expert team at COOLSPIRiT have been helping companies deploy storage technologies for over 20 years. With this proven experience and the emergence of All-Flash storage infrastructure, we have been helping customers revolutionise how they deliver data to their users. By utilising our Pre-Sales, Professional Services & Project Management teams, you can be assured of receiving an industry-leading service for your project.

Contact us today at hello@coolspirit.co.uk or 01246 454 222 to learn more.

To find out more about our partner Pure Storage, click here.

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