Today, Pure Storage announced general availability for FlashBlade. For those not familiar with FlashBlade, it is the all-flash storage company’s massive capacity, incredibly dense--1.6 PB usable in 4 rack units!--all flash storage system designed for unstructured data workloads--think files and objects.
Now I have written quite a bit about FlashBlade since Pure Storage announced it last year. You can check out some of my recent article on SearchStorage or my comment in my 2017 storage industry predictions video, so I don’t simply want to rehash all my early commentary now that the system is finally available to the general public.
But I do want to make two points.
- First, with Pure’s FlashBlade, the all-flash data center becomes a viable reality. Pure is not the only player with a massively dense all-flash storage option for unstructured workloads in its portfolio, but the emergence of systems like FlashBlade move the industry much closer to a world without spinning disks.
- Second, there will be two types of companies that read Pure’s announcement--those that say, “Why would anyone need that much flash?” and those that say, “We needed that yesterday, it will change our business!” Pure Storage called out a number of the companies and industries that fall into that second category in its press release. These are the companies looking to analyze real-time sensor data, leverage advanced analytics on a massive scale, or conduct computations on large data sets such as genomics. These companies represent the thought leaders across multiple industries conducting some truly groundbreaking work.
Now, if you fall into the first category, there is nothing wrong with that. Some businesses may not have an immediate use case for these massive all-flash systems. I touched on this idea in my SearchStorage article. Innovations like FlashBlade are beginning to outpace demand a little.
But here is the rub, if you fall into the first category and have no idea why anyone would need FlashBlade, but you compete against someone that falls into that second category, well, then you are in trouble. To paraphrase one of my favorite movies of all time, “you will be bringing a hard drive to a flash storage fight.” And that is not a good place to be.