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Pure Storage: We’re NVMe-ready

Pure Storage isn’t riding the NVMe bandwagon yet, but it has reserved a seat.

Pure promises its customers they can upgrade all new FlashArray//M systems to NVMe by the end of 2017 through the vendor’s Evergreen Storage program.

NVMe is a memory-class protocol for communications between CPU and flash. NVMe SSDs are expected to replace SAS SSDs. Bulk shipments are expected in 2017 although arrays such as EMC DSSD D5 and systems from startups E8 Storage and Apeiron Data Systems already use NVMe.

Pure today said it is offering an NVMe-Ready Guarantee. Pure VP of products Matt Kixmoeller said the guarantee means if Pure cannot upgrade an array to NVMe in 2017, the vendor will replace that customer’s system with a new NVMe array.

“We think we’re well set up compared to the retrofit legacy vendors,” Kixmoeller said, referring to storage vendors who were around since before the days of flash in enterprise storage. “We believe NVME is the next big thing and will be a strain to those legacy architectures. It’s a dramatic change.”

Although Pure isn’t first to ship NVMe SSDs, Kixmoeller said the vendor has prepared for the new technology since the start.

All FlashArray//M arrays have shipped with dual-ported hot pluggable NVMe NV-RAM devices since 2015. Every flash module slot is wired for SAS and PCIe/NVMe connectivity. Pure maintains its controllers can be upgraded non-disruptively from SAS to NVMe, and its Purity Operating Environment is optimized for NVMe with a massively parallel and multi-threaded design.

Kixmoeller said Pure will support M series arrays with NVMe and flash, or allow customers to switch completely to NVMe. He predicted the full transition to NVMe will take a year or two.

“When we built the Flasharray/M, we wanted to build a product that was upgradeable,” he said. “We foresaw the change in flash would be much faster than disk. If we built an array that needed to be upgraded every three-to-five years, it would seem like a dinosaur.”