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Exposing the Pure Storage Cost of //C

Exposing the Pure Storage Cost of C

Recently, Pure Storage announced its intention to deliver a version of their QLC only All-Flash Array (AFA), FlashArray//C (//C), for under $0.50 GB. When Pure briefed the leading storage industry observer, Chris Mellor, he takes the logical next step and calculates what Pure Storage’s claim means for their potential customers. Chris publishes his estimations in an article on his excellent site Blocks & Files.

Chris calculates that this $0.50 means Pure Storage might be able to sell a //C for about 1.2PB $650,166.50 and a 768TB unit for $384,000. These are both prices that a StorONE configured solution can easily beat while using TLC flash instead of less reliable and lower performing QLC. It will be interesting to see how Pure actually prices the system. The math isn’t always quite that simple. Usually, as the capacity of a system decreases the cost per GB increases. It is safe to assume that will be true in the case of the //C.


ONE Storage Platform vs. Tier 2 Storage

Let’s, for now, assume that the //C can match the price of a StorONE All-Flash configuration. The StorONE solution is still a far better solution for a number of reasons. First, you get a system designed for tier 1, mission-critical workloads, capable of well over 1 Million IOPS and over 15GB/s throughput. Second, you get a platform, not another system, that can also address tier 2 capacity-centric workloads. The system is fully protected by vRAID. Not only is there no single point of failure, but there are also multiple points of redundancy. With StorONE, however, thanks to the intelligent use of HDD you get a system that can also support tier-2, capacity use cases while also supporting tier-1. It supports all protocols block(FC, iSCSI), File(NFS,SMB) and Object(s3). It is a single solution designed to be the ONE storage platform for your enterprise storage infrastructure for the next 10 years.

Our white paper, “Eliminating Storage Complexity with a Practical Storage Consolidation Strategy,” explains how StorONE can solve your immediate storage problems while paving a path to complete storage consolidation.

What is the //C use case?

Per Pure Storage’s website, “The FlashArray//C is intended for tier 2 workloads such as test and dev, backup and recovery, VMs, email, data repositories, and legal archives.” Not surprisingly, there is no mention of performance expectations.  Since organizations will always have tier-1 and tier-2 workloads, most loyal Pure Storage customers will need a //C and a FlashArray//X, as well as a larger IT budget. Pure Storage provides no mechanism to automatically move old data from an //X to an //C, so you will also need more time in your day to manually manage the process.

The //X is Pure Storage’s tier-1 option, and it tries to compete, from a performance perspective, with our AFAn. It is the more reasonable comparison. While StorONE openly publishes performance data on the AFAn, finding meaningful performance data on //X is very difficult.  The existence of the //C proves that the //X can’t address all workloads like the StorONE’s Storage Engine.

The Cost of X+C

If you are keeping count, that means Pure Storage wants you to buy two flash arrays from them — an //X for your tier-1, performance-oriented workloads and a //C for your tier two workloads. Pure Storage can asynchronously replicate between a //X and a //C, and you can manage both from the same user interface, but there is no other integration between the two. Pure Storage is forcing you to buy and manage two separate storage systems, which makes sense since they are a hardware company.

The Power of ONE

The StorONE Storage Engine, on the other hand, can handle all workloads, high performance, and high capacity. One solution is less expensive than two systems. Combining a //C and a //X will cost most organizations more than $900,000, doubling your savings with StorONE while still providing better performance, better data integrity, and simpler management.

The StorONE Engine uses TLC flash as a storage tier to process all data writes and modifications. It also stores all of your active and near-active data. Using TLC gives StorONE incredible read-and-write performance at low latencies. It also allows us to better manage HDD by writing sequentially to the capacity tier, improving those drives’ performance by 10X. Our efficient software enables us to leverage these technologies to excellent performance under ALL conditions.

The HDD tier addresses the customer’s tier 2 capacity needs. We automatically and transparently move data between those tiers while maintaining sub-millisecond latencies. If the customer has a workload, they never want to touch the flash tier, they can define that easily on volume creation. Customers can individually choose the configuration that is best for them, but most will find a small TLC tier combined with PBs of HDD will serve them well.

Why Stop at Two Systems?

Pure Storage is in the business of selling hardware. StorONE is a software company. In addition to asking you to buy a storage system for production and a separate storage system for tier 1 workloads, they want you to buy a third system if you need object storage (FlashBlade). If you want data protection, you need to buy a fourth system from another vendor because their FlashArray //X and //C can’t adequately protect themselves.

StorONE, through a single software solution, provides performance, capacity, and all the storage protocols. We provide support for Block (Fibre Channel, iSCSI), NAS (NFS, SMB) and Object Storage (S3) within the same system. StorONE’s data resiliency suite offers a five-star safety rating that includes the ability to take an unlimited number of snapshots and retain those snapshots indefinitely. It replaces the need for daily, weekly, and even monthly backups as well as the need for copy data management tools. Again, ONE is better.


Choosing between the StorONE Engine vs. //C is a clear case of tactics versus strategy. With Pure Storage, you have to solve today’s storage problems with multiple point solutions that can never be consolidated into a cohesive storage strategy. At StorONE, we enable you to solve today’s storage challenge with a single solution that can, at your pace, consolidate all of the storage needs in your environment. I invite you to request a personal demonstration of our ONE solution and put an end to storage infrastructure sprawl.

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