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Pure Storage cloud deployments include dedicated bare metal

Pure Storage on Equinix Metal allows customers to build a Pure Storage cloud on dedicated all-flash tenants. Equinix is rolling it out in 18 U.S. and international markets.

Pure Storage cloud customers now have the option to purchase all-flash storage on dedicated hardware tenants in select Equinix data centers.

The new offering, dubbed Pure Storage on Equinix Metal, allows customers to consume and remotely administer storage as a cloud service. The vendors have not disclosed pricing.

Pure is the first Equinix storage partner to offer single tenancy, said Zachary Smith, a managing director of Equinix Bare Metal. The new Pure Storage cloud offering is an extension of Equinix Metal Storage, a rebranding of the Packet technology the colocation provider acquired last year. Startup Packet provided infrastructure as a service using Apache-licensed automation software, and Smith was its founder and CEO.

Going global

The Equinix partnership reflects Pure's effort to reach beyond North America. The initial rollout is focused on the 18 most interconnected hybrid cloud markets in the U.S. and globally, Smith said.

In North America, the list of metro areas includes Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; California's Silicon Valley; New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Toronto. European cities on the list include Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris. Hong Kong, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Seoul and Tokyo headline the international markets.

Shifting data to cloud arrays, whether managed locally or by a third-party vendor, can help organizations reduce capital expenditures. All the major vendors offer storage as a service to accommodate customers' need for faster storage, ease of management and scalability.

Customers use Pure Storage on Equinix Metal to provision physical compute and storage via an Equinix data center. Pure Storage on Equinix Metal complements the Pure Storage as a Service cloud license, said Steve McDowell, a senior technology analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

"Equinix Metal lives in an interesting space between on-prem data centers and the public cloud. It gives IT organizations a cloud-like model and reach, but with bare-metal capabilities," McDowell said.

Equinix lacked integrated storage features, which is what Pure Storage offers. "It gives Pure customers a way to pair bare-metal single-tenancy storage with bare-metal servers," he said. "This isn't the kind of choice that you can easily get from a public cloud provider."

Pure Storage: Cloud customers want flexibility

Pure Storage was a pioneer in the design of arrays specifically built for flash technologies. The flagship Pure Storage FlashArray block system includes the high-performance FlashArray//X and midrange FlashArray//C, which blends Intel Optane and quad-level cell NAND SSDs. Pure's FlashStack converged infrastructure product combines FlashArray storage with Cisco networking and servers.

Pure Storage FlashBlade provides file and object storage for scale-out workloads. FlashBlade provides the storage to Pure AIRI, an AI-focused integrated system Pure developed in conjunction with Nvidia Corp. The arrays use Pure's custom DirectFlash NVMe flash modules in place of SATA and SAS SSDs.

Despite its heritage in hardware, enabling customers to move data to the hybrid cloud is a key part of Pure's growth strategy. The addition of an Equinix deployment targets a subset of Pure cloud customers, said Jack Hogan, vice president of strategy at Pure Storage.

Customers want a venue to place data that allows them to operate like a cloud, but many don't have the expertise to write the automation and scripting needed to stand up and manage hardware at software speeds.
Jack HoganVice president of strategy, Pure Storage
Jack HoganJack Hogan

Hogan said many customers are in the midst of digital transformation but may have restrictions that prevent them from using the public cloud. He said Pure Storage on Equinix Metal provides a middle ground.

"Customers want a venue to place data that allows them to operate like a cloud, but many don't have the expertise to write the automation and scripting needed to stand up and manage hardware at software speeds," he said. "We see Pure Storage on Equinix Metal serving workloads that are purpose-built to run on premises." For customers in highly secure, regulated environments, this can be a valuable alternative to the public cloud or managing local storage, Hogan added.

Pure Storage is in position to partner with Equinix on single tenancy due to the design of its all-flash software, said Eric Burgener, a research vice president of infrastructure at IDC. Pure1, the vendor's operating system, makes assumptions about storage defaults that simplify management and provisioning, he added.

"Ease of use is the critical thing here. Pure isn't targeting this at sophisticated storage administrators -- it's targeting people who need an easier way to manage storage, without having to deal with the underlying hardware aspects," Burgener said.

Pure Storage is not the only vendor to launch an Equinix Metal stack this week, though. Seagate on Monday unveiled S3-compatible Lyve Cloud object storage as a service. Seagate said Lyve Cloud will be hosted in Equinix edge locations within major U.S. metro areas.

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