Pure Storage has launched a new flash array product it claims is the first of its kind to include in-demand NVMe technology at a mainstream, affordable price, and it could not resist taking a swipe at rival Dell EMC in the process.
The FlashArray//X product is Pure's first all-NVMe, enterprise-class technology. NVMe technology is a new protocol designed to connect flash storage with computing systems, which allows for a much higher bandwidth, making things quicker and simpler to deploy.
Pure's vice president of products Matt Kixmoeller told CRN that his firm initially took the market by storm by making once-expensive and out-of-reach flash technology available to the masses, and he claims it is doing it again with the NVMe element.
"If you think about the journey of Pure so far, one of the things that we really believe is that in the early days of flash, we were the one vendor who knew how to turn flash from this really exotic, high-end solution into a mainstream technology," he explained. "We really see the same opportunity with this transition to NVMe. Everyone agrees NVMe is a huge opportunity to unlock the next level of performance, but the vendors who have approached it so far have built exotic, high-end solutions which aren't ready for the mainstream."
When asked to clarify which competitors he was referring to, he added: "I think the most notable example out there is EMC, with their acquisition of DSSD about 18 months ago. They were all-NVMe-focused array. I use the past tense because Dell decided to end-of-life the project a couple of weeks ago. When it was still a product, it carried about a 10x premium over their all-flash array XtremIO, so they obviously set a very high price point for the technology in the marketplace."
Dell EMC unveiled its DSSD D5 product last year, which used NVMe technology, but it was widely reported last month that this was being retired. In a statement sent to CRN, Dell EMC said:
"Dell EMC is continuing to invest in the core underlying DSSD technology, bringing that functionality to Dell EMC's next-generation storage and server-based flash products. In fact, we expect to offer NVMe in a core storage offering later in 2017."
Kixmoeller added that Pure's NVMe offering is much cheaper than the price point its rival offered it at anyway.
"Our view is that 10x and [even] 2x are too much for mainstream adoption," he said. "We don't set end-user pricing as we sell through the channel, and we are still setting [general availability] pricing, but our goal is for it to have a very, very modest premium, so it's ready for mainstream adoption."
Pure Storage burst onto the channel scene in 2013 and immediately positioned itself as an EMC rival. The firm has since gone public. In its most recent results for Q4 ending 31 January 2017, sales jumped 52 per cent annually to $227.9m (£183.5m), and net losses narrowed by $1.4m over the same period to $42.9m - both figures on a GAAP basis.
Since Dell and EMC merged last autumn, the combined Dell EMC business has been on a serious channel push, claiming its new partner programme is the best in the world, and strongly talking up its commitment to partners.
When asked how this has affected how customers do business with Pure, its vice president for global channels and alliances Michael Sotnick told CRN that his company is all about the technology.
"We're proud of our programme; we're super proud," he said. "But we sell innovation. It's a much more forward-looking conversation than going to our customers and talking about a programme.
"Partners have a choice and the profound difference is we offer…continual innovation. Our 100 per cent channel focus gives them a very consistent engagement experience. Ultimately, the model we are putting out there in the marketplace is just seen by customers and partners as more modern."
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