In this ESG On Location Video, ESG's Mark Peters reports from Pure Accelerate 2017 in San Francisco, CA. Also interviewed is Brian Schwarz, Vice President of Product Management.
Announcer: The following is an ESG On Location video.
Mark: So welcome to the second Pure Accelerate Conference, away from the glam of so many of the hotels and convention centers we usually go to, here at Pier 70 in San Francisco. Metaphorical in many ways because obviously, Pure is all about changing out old infrastructure, and there's lots of old infrastructure around here. But it's kind of an engaging place, a different place, a challenging place. And that's all the things, of course, Pure would want it to be. Still, plenty of orange.
The word "Accelerate" for Pure's conference always struck me as somewhat ambiguous. Obviously, it's designed to talk about accelerating the user experience, accelerating applications. But frankly, I've always viewed it as being about acceleration for Pure, the company, as well. So Scott Dietzen, the CEO, when he was doing his run-through, of course, focused on things like the high net promoter score, the fact that the company is on the way to a $1 billion not run rate of billion-dollar sales. And as and when it achieves that, it'll be the first company, I think since NetApp in the storage business, to actually achieve that.
But then, of course, these conferences always have to come back to product. And the emphasis here was on what Scott and the whole company referred to as "The New Possible."
So talking about that "New Possible" in a bit more detail, there were lots of products and capability introductions. There was ActiveCluster, there was the Mega FlashBlade, the use of MVME, QoS, something called "Purity Run," which I would call "HCI-Lite." There's CloudSnap, Pure1 Meta, which is more about analytics and support.
Frankly, if I had a criticism of the show, it would be that there were just way too many jigsaw pieces and perhaps not the front picture from the cover of the jigsaw box. It was hard to really walk away with one encapsulation of what the company is really about. Because what the customers like, they like the ease of the products, they like the evergreen aspect, they like that they save money, they like that they get six nines of reliability. But we all know that single products don't win markets. Portfolios can, and clearly, Pure is engaged on expanding its portfolio.
For people who don't know, the first thing, though, just very briefly, what is FlashBlade?
Brian: FlashBlade is a storage array focused on unstructured data, all Flash from pure storage. Announced at the show last year, a bunch of new announcements for the product this year as well.
Mark: And I know you've yes, announced last year, I know you've made it a lot bigger this year. But what I'm also perhaps interested in, and this is really relevant for where the company's going, is why FlashBlade?
Brian: Yeah. So obviously, Pure has focused on building All-Flash storage arrays. First for the block storage market, where it was obviously for performance reasons highly valuable to a bunch of transactional applications. But we fully appreciated there was gonna be a huge value for flash, for unstructured data as well. So all the secondary benefits--simplicity, power, cooling--and unstructured data with the data set sizes and the need to do real-time analytics, performance actually matters for those applications as well.
So Flash for unstructured data, absolutely saw the trend, and bet big and bet early as Pure generally tends to do and likes to do, to revolutionize another set of the data storage market with Flash.
Matt: Yeah, look, it's been a very important couple years of expansion at Pure where we had a great first product line, our All-Flash Array, and really defined that industry. But we're now shipping an end to end data platform. And the combination of FlashArray...now 100% NVME with FlashArray X and FlashBlade really come together into a vision that we call the Data Platform for the Cloud-Era. And our goal is to provide an end to end data platform that allows customers to run their traditional applications, but also their modern analytics and web scale apps. You know, providing them the scalable software-defined file and object and block services that are all totally programmably controlled by REST APIs.
It's a bit of that cloud experience, so you can get in your core data center and your Edge data center as well.
Brian: So those three words, "The Data Platform" that's now how we should view Pure rather than I mean, obviously, a few years ago, it was just the All-Flash company, but now, the data platform?
Matt: Absolutely. And when we think about that, the vision is twofold. First of all, it's integrating our products so they add value end to end. But it's rising up the chain adn adding value not just as a storage provider, but as a true data company. Helping entire solutions directly in the applications and powering the next generation of data-driven applications.
Brian: As the world talks about cloud and Edge, big data, and AI and so on, Pure enthusiastically embraces those things and is gonna actively participate. But it's doing so from the position and perspective of data rather than IT. And I think if we go back to that point about data being perhaps the most important resource in the world today, that could be the thing that determines the successful fate of this company. And frankly, there aren't many others out there trying to do that right now.