The month Pure announced new front-end NVMeoF/Ethernet interface for their FlashArray//X series storage as well as a brand-new cloud-native ObjectEngine deduplication solution for better data protection.
Pure Storage NVMeoF/Ethernet
Pure had previously announced the availability of DirectFlash™ Shelf, which was an external expansion chassis for DirectFlash modules connected to the main AFA over 25-50GbE NVMeoF links. And Pure’s FlashArray//X70 AFA has supported NVMe flash storage in the main storage array chassis since 2017. Moreover, at last year’s Pure//Accelerate conference, they introduced NVMe throughout a FlashArray//X AFA family of, an entire portfolio of NVMe enabled arrays and having NVMeoF ready controllers with new hardware and their DirectFlash Software.
Well last month, they released their DirectFlash Fabric, an NVMeoF/Ethernet RoCE (RDMA over Converged Ethernet) interface for FlashArray//X storage. Pure’s roadmap shows their next iteration of NVMeoF will use Fibre Channel and the one following will use TCP/IP.
One requirement with RoCE is it uses specialized configurations and switching hardware. However, with NVMeoF/FC, any Gen 6 switch, director or HBA already supports NVMeoF. And with TCP/IP, any Ethernet switch would be supported, with no special configuration required. Some claim that NVMeoF TCP/IP may increase response times, but that’s proven to be less of a concern than originally believed.
Pure’s DirectFlash Fabric requires Purity 5.2 software, FlashArray//X AFA and RDMA enabled interface card(s). Pure’s NVMeoF/RoCE low latency performance, 200-300 sec response times, should address some applications requirements, like MongoDB, Cassandra, & MariaDB, that previously limited them to direct attached NVMe SSD storage architectures.
One surprise is that they will support all Purity data services, (snapshots, replication, always on deduplication, and scalability) when using NVMeoF. This level of responsiveness was typically only available with direct attached NVMe SSDs, proprietary AFA hardware systems, or startups, none of which supported sophisticated data services.
Pure is also integrating the new FlashArray//X NVMeoF storage into their FlashStack converged infrastructure. The NVMeoF FlashStack will use Cisco switching and UCS C-Series servers.
Pure Storage ObjectEngine™
Last year Pure acquired StorReduce and later this quarter they plan to GA new ObjectEngine platform for data protection. In the 2nd half of 2019, Pure expects to release the ObjectEngine Cloud, based on ObjectEngine software running in AWS. With ObjectEngine, Pure completes its F2F2C (Flash-to-Flash-to-Cloud) data protection vision. ObjectEngine supports just about any data protection software that supports AWS S3 protocol for backup storage.
Pure’s ObjectEngine base system on-prem is a 4 node/2 enclosure, inline-deduplicating, engine, that supports up to 24TB/hour of backup and 15TB/hour of restore per node pair, depending on workload and assuming a data reduction rate of 10:1. The ObjectEngine doesn’t store backup data, for that you need FlashBlade initially. The current solution supports up to 15PB of effective (assumes 10:1 dedupe ratio) backup storage capacity. As discussed above, Pure plans to offer their ObjectEngine Cloud, which can store an unlimited amount of backup data on AWS S3.
The intent is that ObjectEngine will compete with Dell EMC Data Domain systems, a hybrid (disk-flash) storage, purpose-built backup appliance, that supports NFS, virtual tape and OST/Boost backup data protocols, for customers looking to improve data recovery performance, save money through flexible infrastructure options and eliminate data silos to enable data reuse workloads, such as analytics and AI.
Many major storage vendors offer NVMeoF/FC. For NVMeoF/Ethernet there are plenty of startups, but Pure’s the first major vendor to release support for NVMeoF/Ethernet. Some vendors believe they will need to reduce or eliminate data services to support NVMeoF/Ethernet response times. Pure disagrees.
The ObjectEngine data protection platform is StorReduce technology rebranded, reengineered and delivered by Pure Storage. The solution is on the cusp of another inflection point in the data protection market, enabling customers to evolve from Disk-to-Disk-to-Tape (D2D2T) to Flash-to-Flash-to-Cloud architecture. But as it only supports S3, it limits its universality. Most backup vendors support S3 tiering for data, but it’s unclear how tiering will impact overall backup data flow.
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Silverton Consulting, Inc., is a U.S.-based Storage, Strategy & Systems consulting firm offering products and services to the data storage community