Pure Storage Introduces Storage-as-a-Service
There’s a New Class of STaaS That Changes Everything
While the revenue of incumbent leaders flatlined during the last 5 years, Pure Storage led an assault on legacy technologies and methods of delivering enterprise storage. Pure’s fresh approach including all-flash and Evergreen™ storage catapulted the company to a billion dollar run-rate, and allowed Pure Storage to carve out a major share of the ultra-competitive all-flash data storage market.
Pure Storage is at it again with Storage-as-a-Service (STaaS), a mix of traditional on-premises storage and public cloud storage that is so good, if Pure had existed over ten years ago, it would have changed the evolution of the data center landscape we know today.
Read on to learn more about how the availability of the first STaaS from a major vendor is going to change the way enterprise storage is engineered, sold and consumed.
There are innovative new features that we read about every day, and there is discontinuous innovation that offers such compelling benefits that new data center standards and operating models are quickly developed to help the trend succeed.
IT organizations create competitive advantage at these technology inflection points by partnering with vendors that can bring about a sea-change in how IT does business, and where new supply chains and new efficiencies can bloom quickly and create enormous economic value.
All-flash, Ageless and STaaS are storage technologies that fit the definition of discontinuous storage in the current decade. One company—Pure Storage—has been at the forefront of all three.
#1 of 3 Game Changers this Decade: All Flash Storage
All-flash array pioneers led by Pure Storage changed the storage game forever by displacing high-RPM HDDs in a large percentage of IO-intensive applications, and continue to make inroads into many other workloads. All-flash arrays more compact, don’t need constant performance tuning, and are infinitely more reliable than HDDs. The question that remains is, “when will all-flash storage completely replace HDDs?” Clearly the answer lies in the price of flash memory. When the price of flash reaches a certain tipping point, all-flash data centers will become a reality. Our recent IT pro survey indicates a third of IT organizations will go all-flash when the cost is within 30% of the cost of HDDs.
IT Brand Pulse believes the migration to all-flash is unstoppable. Our optimistic prediction is that within 5 years flash memory suppliers will generate enough supply to drive prices within 50% of HDD, allowing all-flash storage to displace HDDs in general-purpose storage applications. Within 10 years SSD capacity will be sufficient for all flash storage to replace even HDD archive storage, and the era of all-flash data centers will begin.
#2 of 3 Game Changers this Decade: Ageless Storage
A large group of all flash array vendors rocketed to $50 million in annual revenues simply because they had flash products and the major OEMs did not. A smaller group advanced to hundreds of millions because they added data management features such as dedupe and compression, capabilities that were needed for all-flash arrays to compete with comprehensive HDD-based solutions in business-critical application environments. One company—Pure Storage—separated itself from the pack with a radical advancement that profoundly altered the basis for competition. IT Brand Pulse calls the new class of product “Ageless” storage, while Pure calls their specific offering “Evergreen” storage.
IT Brand Pulse defines Ageless products as offering: 1) Non-disruptive upgrades of storage controllers, memory and media, 2) Upgrades available throughout the life of the product, and 3) Upgrades that are built into the price of the product. In other words it is more than a warranty contract for spare parts.
The concept is simple but the implementation is not. Products and programs designed from the ground-up for non-disruptive lifetime upgrades are delivered efficiently and have proven to be wildly successful. The Evergreen offering from Pure Storage is a key reason why the company has joined the billion dollar club and the reason why all major storage vendors are at some stage of offering Ageless storage. IT Brand Pulse predicts that within 3 years, deployment if Ageless storage will become a best-practice and all enterprise storage systems will be designed for non-disruptive upgrades throughout the life of the products.
#3 of 3 Game Changers this Decade: Storage-as-a-Service
The third and most radical storage game-changer is public cloud Storage-as-a-Service. Because STaaS offers such compelling benefits, the market segment is experiencing hyperscale growth while sweeping aside old data center standards and operating models.
Businesses are leveraging the ability to acquire data center infrastructure without a massive and long-term commitment to CapEx, as well as the ability to pay only for the resources consumed.
Successful public cloud IaaS providers have learned the profitability of their infrastructure depends on the same design principles underpinning Ageless Storage. Specifically, the ability to perform non-disruptive upgrades over a long period of time. Their lack of on-premises offerings and their use of Ageless technology sets the stage for companies like Pure Storage to provide STaaS somewhere between public cloud-ony and on-premises-only.
IT Brand Pulse predicts that IT spending on public and private cloud OpEx storage will more than triple from 2018 to 2024 to over $35 billion per year. The emergence of On Premises-as-as-Service will drive the growth of Private Cloud Storage OpEx revenue.
A Huge Gap Opens Between Public Cloud Storage-as-a-Service and On-Premises Storage
AWS introduced public cloud storage in 2006. Since then AWS, Google and Azure have implemented strategies with little to offer for on-premises. Twelve years later enterprises are still forced to purchase or lease infrastructure that is finely tuned for their applications, or to abandon their infrastructure for public cloud services optimized for risk-free consumption.
Leased infrastructure helped bridge the OpEx gap between public cloud services and on-premises CapEx because it allowed businesses to spread out their cash outlay and keep liabilities off the balance sheet. However new FASB rules require businesses to recognize assets and payment liabilities for leases with terms of more than 12 months. This hit on the balance sheet amounts to a strike against on-premises when evaluating the financing of on-premises storage versus cloud services.
IT Brand Pulse research shows that IT Pros prefer to buy on–premises storage because it will perform the best for their applications. Their second choice is not public cloud storage, but subscribing to on-premises storage so they can keep their data on-site, but pay for only what they use. Their second choice defines a huge gap between what customers want and what is available from major storage vendors.
On-Premises STaaS Fills The Gap, But Traditional Storage Leaders Unwilling to Go There
Amazingly, despite the spectacular success of Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers, traditional enterprise storage leaders have been unwilling to stray from their buy/lease models and offer their products as-a-service.
IT Brand Pulse believes that if leading enterprise storage vendors had the vision in 2006 to recognize the potential of STaaS—and the guts to transform their go-to-market models—we would live in a different world today. Major storage OEMs would be enjoying hyperscale growth, Amazon would be strictly an online retailer, Google would be focused on Search advertising, and Microsoft would be a company completely dependent on SaaS.
What Makes On-Premises STaaS So Good
On-Premises Storage-as-a-Service is extraordinary because it’s like leasing a car, where you take possession of the car (on-premises) – but you only pay for the miles you drive. Additionally, unlike a lease, your car never gets old and you can upgrades features or the entire car as your needs or desires change. IT organizations can take possession of the storage to ensure their data stays on-site, and the on-premises system can be tuned to the specific needs of their different applications. At the same time the CFO is happy with a utility model that improves cash management and unleashes the business from long-term commitments.
On-premises STaaS designed with Ageless technology is even better, guaranteeing the on-premises service will be kept up-to-date with the latest technology without disrupting the business.
Evergreen Storage Service (ES2): Storage-as-a-Service from Pure Storage
On May 23, 2018 Pure Storage became the first major enterprise storage vendor to break the mold and introduce on-premises storage-as-a-service. IT Brand Pulse predicts that on-premises STaaS, based on Ageless storage technology, will be a smash hit with IT organizations, become a best-practice, and all major enterprise vendors will offer on-premises storage within 3 years.
Evergreen Storage Service (ES2) from Pure applies a cloud-like approach to on-premises storage that eliminates the need for forklift technology rebuys and planned downtime. With ES2, organizations can now leverage cloud-like Storage-as-a-Service to adapt to fluctuating capacity requirements. ES2 is of course Evergreen, which allows organizations to benefit from future innovations, implemented non-disruptively behind the scenes.
Pure recognizes that most customers will have a mixed environment to address a variety of needs. So in addition to On-Premises as-a-Service (OPaaS), Pure also supports hybrid and public cloud environments allowing customers to run ES2 from colocation facilities interconnecting to both on-premises and public cloud platforms. IT organizations now have a wide choice of best-of-breed all-flash Storage-as-a-Service solutions.
ES2 can be onboarded in days and offers customers a fully-elastic, scalable on-premises solution complete with tier-one, enterprise grade features. ES2 provides on-demand, enterprise-grade storage with virtually unlimited capacity measured by what is used by the applications, at up to at as much as 50 percent less total cost than public cloud with proven reliability. ES2 is available for terms as short as 12 months with a base commitment as low as 100 effective TiBs.
A New Wave of Storage Growth Will Come from On-Premises STaaS
On Premises-as-a-Service (OPaaS) from major vendors is long overdue but has finally arrived. On-premises STaaS will drive a new wave of growth for service providers like Pure Storage, and 3 years from now enterprise storage vendors will be asking themselves why they didn’t offer the OPaaS sooner. The bottom line for IT organizations is they now have a powerful business case for investing in on-premises infrastructure. In a best-case scenario, business data stays on-site, application performance and availability is better, the business pays only for what they use, and it costs less.