Great storage for our requirements
September 06, 2019

Great storage for our requirements

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Pure Storage FlashArray

The array is used to provide storage for the private cloud infrastructure used by students in the School of Applied Computer Science and Information Technology for lab work and assignments. The private cloud infrastructure is deployed to allow the school to employ a BYOD environment while providing students with resources required to complete practical study requirements.

Pros

  • High performance allows great flexibility in the classroom. You can ask an entire class of students to deploy a VM and they are done in seconds rather than minutes.
  • Lower long term cost through controller upgrade program. Having a large capital expenditure every five to six years as is typical with storage arrays is very difficult in an educational environment.
  • Excellent automation saves hours of time. Each semester, resources are destroyed and reconfigured in the virtual infrastructure for hundreds of students. That requires the destruction and creation of hundreds of volumes. Since that process is completed automated, it only takes a couple of hours time to configure the required data to allow the automation scripts process the required changes.

Cons

  • I would recommend changing the deployment process schedule that it can be completed without a Pure engineer on site. I thought the process would be much more complex than it was. As it turned out, we could have easily handled the process.
  • A very specific feature is the requirement for actual Intel 40Gb optical transceivers. We faced a challenge during deployment that the array would not work with any third party 40Gb optical transceiver that we had, although it would work with a third party 40Gb DAC with no problem. Pure did provide a document stating only Intel optics were supported, but that was provided after purchase. We have the perception that Pure did not have much experience with 40Gb networking.
  • The FlashArray has allowed us to meet our objective of switching to a BYOD environment while providing the resources required to support effective learning. If the school had not followed a BYOD model, the college would have had to deploy and maintain many additional computer labs consisting of 40 - 60 desktop computers that require replacement every couple of years. Plus, students would have to continue provided lab storage in the form of a USB connected SSD which proved to be somewhat problematic.
  • There has, so far, been an unexpectedly high level of storage efficiency which will likely allow the school to expand programs without purchasing additional storage. Pure guaranteed a 5:1 data reduction level and over the first year of operation, that ratio was closer to 35:1. Although not all programs have started using the infrastructure that utilizes the array, we are confident that we will continue to see that high level of efficiency.
Nimble, NetApp and VSAN are all products that were evaluated and with which we had previous experience.

Nimble and NetApp at the time were both promoting hybrid systems rather than all flash. In both cases, we favoured all flash since it had become affordable and is much more reliable than traditional disk. In addition, experience with both of those vendors proved that complete system replacement was required after five to six years.

VSAN allowed for affordable all flash. To provide the desired level of high availability required eight vSphere hosts rather than six, plus more compute capacity on the hosts to allow for VSAN resources. The Pure solution proved to be less expensive than VSAN.
I believe Pure Storage FlashArray is suitable for any application that requires high-performance storage over a projected longer term. The performance of the array was better than other solutions we compared during the evaluation phase - in some cases much better. Although the initial cost was a little higher than some of the other solutions we explored, there was an advantage over the longer term.

When providing storage for a shorter-term project, assuming performance requirements can be met, other solutions generally offer a better cost benefit. In that case, Pure would not be my first choice.

Pure Storage FlashArray Feature Ratings

Flash Array Performance
10
Flash Array Integration
10
Data Compression
10
Non-Intrusive Upgrades
10
Simplicity
8
Power Savings
9

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