I’m pleased to inform that I will be attending Pure Storage Accelerate in Austin, TX (15-Sep-19 to 18-Sep-19) as a part of the Analyst track. I will also be joining my Tech Field Day friends, as well as awesome friends & delegates, to participate in the live streaming / recording of Tech Field Day Exclusive at Pure Storage Accelerate. Thanks again to Pure Storage and to Tech Field Day for this incredible opportunity!
This will mark my second attendance of a Pure Storage Accelerate conference, the first one having been in 2017, where Pure did certainly impress by choosing an incredible location in the industrial suburbs of San Francisco. This time we’re heading to Austin, and I’m terribly excited to visit Texas for the first time!
I’m hoping to hear about exciting progress on the Pure Storage side, both from a technology & service offering perspective. The last Pure Storage announcements / products that I have covered were about DirectFlash Fabric as well as AIRI – both in March/April 2019.
On DirectFlash Fabric
DirectFlash Fabric is in my opinion a perfect showcase of the unwavering commitment of Pure Storage to the advancement in Flash Technologies, and primarily about their commitment to NVMe. I haven’t had a chance to attend the Flash Storage Summit, but it is the place where every storage company is showcasing their latest technology. If you want to be a cool kid on the storage block these days, you absolutely need to implement NVMe, at least if your intent is to deliver low-latency, high-throughput storage. It’s not a surprise that out of the seven podcast interviews we’ve had recently on the TECHunplugged Podcast, five were about storage companies with an NVMe-based product.
All of these companies leverage in one way or another NVMe over Fabrics (NVMe-oF) or rather NVMe combined with RDMA (specifically RoCE -or “Rocky”, RDMA over Converged Ethernet). The validation of protocols such as NVMe over TCP and FC-NVMe are only going to increase the options for customers, and I’m curious to hear whether DirectFlash Fabric will offer more connectivity options.
On Flash Memory
Not only that, but I’m also interested to hear whether there will be any improvements to the already quite phenomenal low latency. Will Pure Storage talk about any investments / changes on the silicon side? Is Pure Storage committed to continue the development of custom-built hardware (DirectFlash modules, etc), or is there a trend towards standardisation and rationalisation of production? How is the development of those custom-built modules impacting R&D costs as well as production costs?
Furthermore, what is Pure Storage’s plan in terms of capacity vs. performance offering in light with the latest developments in flash storage manufacturing? Will we hear about a combination of QLC 3D NAND for capacity and 3D XPoint for performance / caching? This seems to be the sweet spot these days, and recently launched startups such as VAST Data are making this combo their battle horse. There’s a link with the point below on “No Forklift Upgrades”, by the way.
Pure Storage has had a strong sales point for some time now with their Evergreen technology, which guarantees that customers won’t need to undergo any forklift upgrades (where the old hardware is “forklifted” and replaced by brand new hardware). As we have new form factors and technologies emerging, I’m curious to understand whether this “no forklift upgrades” business model (or business promise) is actually sustainable.
To Pure Storage’s point, the use of custom form factors (for Flash Modules, for example) is perhaps what helps perpetuate the model. This holds true in comparison of using standard hardware, where the move from SAS to NVMe means a disk form factor change (from SATA/SAS to U.2), which may be further complicated with the emerging EDSFF form factor and its zillion of varieties.
AIRI, on the other side, is interesting in how Pure Storage managed to pull together a partnership with nVIDIA on an emerging technology (the fabulous world of AI / ML, or in layman’s words Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning). Pure Storage is (no pun intended) one of the last “pure players” in the storage space, and needs therefore to find strong and innovative partnerships to thrive. Just like their competitor NetApp (another “pure player”) embraced the cloud (with data fabric services) as their way towards redemption, Pure Storage has to find its own speciality.
The bet on AI/ML seems to pay off, but this is an area where I definitely want to hear more about, especially trying to understand if this is only one area of development or if other major partnerships are planned.
The short list above sums up what I’m looking forward from Pure Storage Accelerate. No doubt that Pure will talk about Pure1, their cloud-based management / predictive analytics platform powered by ML, and perhaps also about their own cloud offerings and partnerships. Putting aside the fact that I’ll be seeing a lot of close friends from the industry, I’m much looking forward to former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin’s keynote speech!
What I’m also looking at understanding is how those announcements, partnerships and the general direction place Pure Storage in the broader market context. I hope to figure out more and report on it soon.
I am invited to attend Pure Storage Accelerate 2019 by Pure Storage. Pure Storage will cover travel, accommodation, and an analyst/media conference pass (which will also entitle me to food during conference hours). It is also possible that Gestalt IT (the organizers of Tech Field Day Exclusive at Pure Storage Accelerate 2019) may cover food expenses outside of the conference event. I will cover entirely my personal expenses during the event. I will not receive any form of financial compensation for participation in this event, and I am also not obliged to blog or produce any kind of content. Any tweets, blog articles or any other form of content I may produce are the exclusive product of my interest in technology and my will to share information with my peers. I will commit to share only my own point of view and analysis of the products and technologies I will be seeing/listening about during this event.