On April 11, 2017, Pure Storage announced its next generation flagship product, the FlashArray //X. Neuralytix believes this is the first all-NVMe all flash array (AFA) on the market. The FlashArray //X is designed to provide the highest performance for top tier applications including database acceleration, top of rack DAS replacement, and tier one enterprise application consolidation.
Pure Storage has packed 1PB of effective usable flash into just 3U with the new array, an improvement of four times in density compared to its FlashArray //M, which will continue to be available.
For the new array, Pure Storage has decided to use a proprietary flash module that they call DirectFlash instead of SSD. At launch, DirectFlash modules will be available in raw capacities of 2.2, 9.1 and 18.3TB. For those customers who already have FlashArray //M, they will be able to upgrade to the capabilities of the FlashArray //X and take advantage of NVMe SSD modules by upgrading the controllers to the //X70 controllers, and adding NVMe shelves to their configuration.
As with all of Pure Storage’s products – FlashArray //X, FlashArray //M, and FlashBlade – it comes with Pure Storage’s Purity software, Pure1 services and Evergreen Storage guarantee, which includes forever flash renewal.
It is not surprising to Neuralytix that Pure Storage is the first vendor to offer an all-NVMe AFA. It has been planning for the eventuality of the commercial viability and availability of NVMe flash for some time.
With the FlashArray //X, Pure Storage has also introduced a new layer of software called the DirectFlash Software that Pure Storage claims makes it the first software-defined flash module on the market. The benefit of this approach is that it eliminates a lot of the extraneous operations that SSDs have including converting flash to be compatible with SAS. Pure Storage claims that with its DirectFlash Software and its software-defined flash module, that its systems will be simpler, faster, and more efficient.
Neuralytix believes that it also opens up the opportunity for easier integration with NVMe over Fabric or NVMe/F.
This is not the first time that Pure Storage has used a flash module over SSDs. Its capacity optimized FlashBlade solution also uses proprietary flash modules, so Pure Storage has experience with manufacturing, configuring, and tuning modules that work directly with NAND flash chips.
Overall, Pure Storage’s announcement extends their leadership in the AFA market, and sets the bar for others to follow with respect to NVMe.