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Pure Storage predicts a bright future

Pure Storage co-founder and chief architect John Hayes

Pure Storage was in the news for the most part in early October as it went public – the first tech company doing so on the New York Stock Exchange this year.
Nevertheless, Pure Storage's debut failed to impress but it has since rebounded.

Pure Storage founder and chief architect John Hayes was in Singapore recently and DSA spoke to him via a phone interview.

John Hayes joined John Colgrove to co-found Pure Storage in 2009 after serving in Yahoo!'s Office of the Chief Technologist, where he investigated web architectures for collaborative development of highly-reliable systems. He joined Yahoo! via the acquisition of Bix, where he was a founding engineer. His work prior to Yahoo! focused on developing distributed platforms for real-time interpersonal interaction in a variety of areas including entertainment, medicine, psychology, and defense.

During this time, he became interested in the underlying architecture of reliable distributed systems, particularly those built from unreliable components. His diverse experiences have led him to develop new approaches to make today's increasingly complex distributed systems more reliable. John holds a degree in Computer and Systems Engineering from Guelph University in Ontario, Canada.
 
DSA: With the IPO and going public out of the way, what now can we expect from Pure Storage?
John Hayes: Well, we will continue on with what we are doing. Now we can go back to focusing on the increasingly competitive all-flash storage market. The slower ­than ­hoped ­for start for Pure Storage does not reflect the otherwise bright future ahead for the company.

I believe the all-flash arrays will continue to gain the most traction in the enterprise. This is because the market, whether you like it or not, is shifting away from traditional storage arrays. All-flash arrays will become the new standard because the sub-millisecond latency of flash will continue to increase the quality and performance of every application.

What about the future of Pure Storage excites you the most?
John Hayes: Pure Storage’s potentials will be more about shaping the next-generation of cloud and web-scale data storage than just replacing legacy disk arrays. The products we are developing will in the long run compete with commodity server hardware and ultimately alter the way systems software like databases and file systems are being designed.

As it is solid-state storage are already changing the fundamental data structures. We believe all the mechanical disks in the market will move to solid state. In no time business infrastructures will realise a huge performance improvement if they move to this area and we aim to be at the centre of that change.
 
Having said that I must admit that Pure Storage is in an extremely competitive environment, with a large number of startup all -flash storage array vendors on one side and legacy storage vendors moving quickly into the all­-flash array market on the other.

But we believe we can be No. 1 in this space. We believe we can grow faster than most. We wouldn't be in the fight if we didn't have an innovative model. Our combination of business model and technology platform is why people are choosing Pure Storage.

Last June, we announced FlashArray//m, the company’s new flagship all-flash storage array, Pure1, a new cloud-based management and support offering, and Evergreen Storage, a new model for storage procurement and upgrades. Together, these innovations deliver storage that is dramatically simpler and more efficient, and eliminate the forklift upgrade and data migration burden from storage ownership. Now, storage can contribute meaningfully to transforming customers’ business and IT infrastructure for higher growth and profitability.
 
DSA: With all the talks about flash, one question crops up. Is the new hyper-converged technology going to make flash storage arrays obsolete?
John Hayes: I don’t think so. Even if it does, I think it will take very long time to displace flash. Just look at tape storage which has more than 40-year life cycle before new technologies can even have an impact in the storage market. Likewise flash will continue to evolve and attracts consumers.

In a world that already has close to 5 ZB of data in existence and will arrive at 44 ZB within a decade, flash will get faster, cheaper, denser and have greater longevity.

The combination of trends such as BYOD, the proliferation of mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), and higher-resolution photography and video (to name a few), are leading to massive data growth for on premise storage as well as cloud-based storage.

And on top of that, hyper-converged infrastructures are not really storage arrays. Granted, hyper-converged infrastructures fill a market need that for years customers have either been struggling to address with storage arrays. Hyper-converged infrastructure should be viewed as a form of converged infrastructure, one that is comprised solely of server hardware and top of rack network switches. This software-defined model leverages a virtualisation layer to provide shared data services comprised of local storage, a distributed file system, data mirroring mechanisms and Ethernet networking.
 

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