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Pure Storage adds automated storage API, databases on demand

All-flash array vendor Pure Storage expands its cloud services with Fusion, enabling storage on demand for developers, and Portworx Data Services, a database-as-a-service.

Pure Storage continues expanding its suite of cloud services with Pure Fusion, a new storage service available through the cloud, and Portworx Data Services, the company's new database as a service.

Pure Fusion launches in early access later this year, with general availability expected in the first half of 2022. Portworx Data Services is available in early access as of today, with several open source database options available at launch including Cassandra, Kafka, RabbitMQ and Redis. Portworx Data Services will be generally available in 2022. Several new features for its Pure1 storage management platform are also available.

There's a massive demand being placed on IT to execute and to execute much more quickly than they have previously.
Scott SinclairSenior analyst, ESG

The automation of storage requests and database generation are powerful and useful new features from Pure Storage, said Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

"There's a massive demand being placed on IT to execute, and to execute much more quickly than they have previously," he said. "What this culminates in is a massive uptick in maintenance … [Pure Storage is] aligning their capabilities to where the market is headed."

Fusion frenzy

Pure Storage describes Fusion as a "self-service, autonomous storage-as-code" service aimed at simplifying the lives of both app developers and IT teams monitoring storage needs.

The service is a new cloud-based management plane, offering the ability to spin up and partition storage on demand and automate storage provisioning across clouds and on-prem Pure arrays. Developers can commission more storage on demand through a new API.

Pure Fusion will allow storage managers to set storage policies and automate storage placement and workloads across local data centers and the cloud. The service can also request additional storage as needed from the cloud for apps facing high usage.

Pure Fusion is available to existing Pure customers as a new feature to purchase or on its own as a service in the cloud.

"Storage has improved leaps and bounds over the past decade," said Robert Lee, Pure Storage CTO. "But if you look at what the experience is still like for managing traditional storage, by and large [it's] quite a bit of a mess. … We're taking a lot of tasks that were the tricky part of storage management and automating that."

The service looks to eliminate the need for app developers to request storage and instead automate the process via API. Fusion is part of Pure1 and will work only across Pure Storage's Cloud Block Store and Pure Storage arrays at this time.

Databases on demand

Portworx, Pure Storage's Kubernetes data services software platform, expands with database as a service through Portworx Data Services, which is expected to offer numerous open source database options at launch.

Promising "one-click" deployments, the automated service offers curated templates to help expedite database creation, schedule backup policies and allow apps themselves to back up and restore. Similar to Fusion, developers can use their freshly spun up databases through an API or the software's UI.

The service, according to Pure Storage, should allow developers to focus on developing and testing their container applications. It will also eliminate the need for storage request tickets and manual provisioning, according to Pure Storage.

Similar to Portworx itself, the service will be hardware- and cloud-agnostic. The service is bundled with the Portworx Enterprise service, a paid tier of the Portworx services.

Pure1 management, security updates  

A trio of new features are also available for the Pure1 management console.

The service will suggest appropriate updates to customers' Pure appliances' OS, point out issues that could arise for their workloads during an upload, and schedule updates accordingly.

Another new protection feature, Malicious Attack Remediation, offers greater data protection by suggesting data retention and protection snapshot policies used by Pure Storage users with similar workloads. The feature can also make recommendations such as upgrades, support contacts and more.

Finally, further Kubernetes container integrations with Portworx will allow the Pure1 panel to show the layout of containers and associated storage. Pure Storage called the addition an extension of the VMware analytics capabilities and can help to map container and storage connections to visually confirm issues.

Market shifts to service

Eliminating labor intensive upkeep tasks through AI and automation, primarily through outsourced premium services like Fusion or Portworx Data Services, is now an accepted business transaction for the industry, according to ESG's Sinclair.

"IT demands are so much more than they were five or six years ago," he said. "The pressure to accelerate is so much larger; there's very little resistance to automation."

In a recent survey on infrastructure trends by ESG, 63% of 359 respondents said they've had difficulty right-sizing their IT infrastructure environment. Automation features such as those offered by Pure are one way to mitigate that headache, according to Sinclair.

The primary competition for Pure Storage's new features, as well as their on-prem flash arrays, remains the major cloud providers of AWS, Azure and Google Cloud Platform, according to Sinclair. The nigh infinite scale and swath of features offered by the cloud providers is quickly obvious for storage buyers, even at the cost, he added. The new features and benefits of Pure Storage's offerings will require the company to seek more airtime and customers' ears.

"What's going to be a real area for Pure to focus on is they'll have to differentiate from those [public cloud] models and make the world aware they're available," he said.

Although classified as new features by Pure, the company's as-a-service ambitions aren't exactly new, said Steve McDowell, a senior analyst at Moore Insights & Strategy.

"IT buyers are looking less at the core hardware technologies now and much more at the delivery experience," McDowell said. "We trained IT administrators to want a very simple to manage, push-button experience, and a lot of IT vendors struggle with that."

Cloud remains the dominant competitor against any on-prem storage vendors, he added, but Pure Storage's push for all-flash storage products, along with their as-a-service offerings, gives the company a future-proofing advantage against vendors still focusing on typical hard disk storage.

"Pure is on the bleeding edge of that," McDowell said. "They're pushing premium features from top to bottom."

ESG is a division of TechTarget.

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