Technology is moving fast, like, you have to keep changing hardware, fast. In fact, according to market speed, we are looking at hardware lasting us for maybe 3 - 5 years, if you’re lucky. But your business isn’t just there for 3 – 5 years, and even more so, your data is a point of reference that would probably exist for years to come.
The current hardware isn’t designed to look forward into the future. Many proprietary vendors lock you in to old technology. It may be the hottest stuff in the market when you first bought it, but ultimately, your business will expand, and while incremental software upgrades can help you in the short term, any scale up and scale out you do is limited to what is compatible with your current system.
It’s not just the system compatibility, sometimes it’s whether it will physically fit in your rack!
New technologies are often redesigned from ground up to provide more efficient usage and better performance. What that also means is that you are looking at total overhaul – ie. buying a totally new array to replace the old metal. This means downtime and disruption, with no guarantees that you still have your snapshots and replica libraries, which in turn affects your application services.
Another factor is time. With upgrades comes data migration; but it’s the data age, and you could easily be looking at many Terabytes, if not Petabytes. That could be days of migrating data, not mentioning without guarantee that you have everything you need. If you upgrade to a newer system that doesn’t support old data formats – it’s all for nought, if you can’t read the data.
Adding all these together, you have a very costly operation; buying hardware and software since you can’t transfer direct from an older array – and you have to do this every 3 – 5 years, regardless of whether your usage has changed drastically or not. That is not including any maintenance and support that comes along – just in case things go south.
It’s not just the hardware that needs to change – the business model needs to change as well. It’s important that you are kept up to date with the latest technology, but also caring for your pockets, while making sure your data is stable and doesn’t cause disruption to your business.
This means the current way vendors do business, has to change. At the same time, change is difficult. Having years’ worth of business operation turned on its head is never easy – the staff has to change their approach, your own system has to change.
However, that is where market demand is. And that is why Pure Storage took a very different approach to our business.
Evergreen was built with that in mind. You buy an all flash array (AFA) from Pure Storage, the price you pay per GB will stay flat, or decrease over time as long as you own that system. While the actual maintenance cost might increase as you scale out, on a component level Pure ensure it stays the same. To keep customers up to date, Pure give free controller upgrades for our customers every 3 years. Finally, any failed components are replaced at no additional charge from us during the life of the array.
This also means data isn’t migrated during the process, reducing risk and saving time and money. Not only that, you keep any capital investments you make, even after migrating to newer technologies. No buying another frame or relicense any snapshot, replication or other software that they have already licensed on a Flash Array. As mentioned before, the maintenance and support costs at a component level stays the same as your original system. All this leads to no downtime or performance degradation associated with the technology refresh process.
With this approach, you no longer have to put a huge burden on costs, risk, and wastage on your datacentre. The old way of doing business is clunky, costly and time consuming. It’s time we look at how technology can be sustainable.