IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe vs Pure Storage FlashArray comparison

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Comparison Buyer's Guide
Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe and Pure Storage FlashArray based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two All-Flash Storage solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe vs. Pure Storage FlashArray Report (Updated: January 2023).
670,523 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"It has a good interface. Its configuration and flexibility are also good.""Other manufacturers claim simplicity. In fact, frankly, they do have an advantage in that regard, however, they don't have the functionality. If you were to compare one of those products to NetApp, head to head from a feature perspective, NetApp would wind up in the top 10.""This solution helps accelerate demanding enterprise applications. VMware workloads, the database, and Oracle Solaris are hosted on AFF, which means that our primary priority workloads are on AFF and that the secondary ones are on FAS. That includes the SAN national cloud.""One of the main features that we love about the system is the ability to create snapshots. NetApp makes a lot of snapshots in a short space of time. Also, the speed of data recovery with NetApp, at the time we need it, is an important feature that we love.""In terms of the footprint, it is far more efficient. It has smaller, higher-capacity drives than our older unit. In terms of space, power, and cooling, it has simplified things.""NetApp AFF has helped to simplify our clients' infrastructure while still getting very high performance for their business-critical applications. One of our customers uses the vSAN environment in the release, then they use NFS for their VMware VCF environment and TKG environment. In this case, when they move to NetApp for the TKG and the VM infrastructures, they use AFF for block, CIFS, and NFS. It provides a single storage with NFS, block, and CIFS with deduplication, team provisioning, and compression. Everything is in there, which makes it very good to use.""Technical support has been okay.""The performance is outstanding when it's all Flash. That's the biggest bang for the buck that we get."

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"Good performance with a user-friendly UI.""A key feature is that compared to storage systems that we've been familiar with over decades, IBM simply does not fail. The reason is that IBM is the only manufacturer that engineers its own flash module, and there is a key architectural difference from everything else that we have seen in the market. The difference is that the flash module has the computational capability, which allows reliability and capacity enhancements to be uploaded from the main controllers and run in each module. So, each of the flash drives becomes its own little storage system, and that is extremely effective architecture. In this field, with this type of system, IBM has made a statement. They've never had one of these modules cause an outage. So, the failure rates on these things are just in a whole different universe from what we were accustomed to.""The most valuable features of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe are its steady performance and usefulness in high-traffic environments."

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"The most valuable features in Pure Storage FlashArray are deduplication and active cluster.""The scalability is good.""The management is simple in Pure Storage FlashArray.""Processes that used to take 40 minutes to two hours can be completed in five minutes.""The solution offers amazing performance.""At this point, I don't know anything that they could provide in a better way.""I use all the features of this solution and I find them to be easy to use and functional, such as the compression and capacity to expand.""I like FlashArray's ActiveCluster as well as its snapshot and cloning capabilities."

More Pure Storage FlashArray Pros →

Cons
"It can get a little expensive if you need to add more disks. The cost is a pain point for us, especially in terms of expansion.""Another issue is that for smaller customers, NetApp doesn't have enough disk sizes. You begin with a 980-gigabyte disk and the next size is 3.8 terabytes. There aren't any disk sizes in between. Competitors have more choices in disk sizes.""In the past, NetApp designed it so that you have a 70% threshold. You would never fill up past 70% since you need to have that room available. Whereas with Pure, I can fill it up to 110% of what they listed and it's still going at full speed. NetApp can't do that.""It would be better if they just improved the performance of the system.""Its integration could be improved.""NetApp should offer more training so everyone can learn about the products. Other vendors have a lot of training options. It would be great if NetApp would highlight how to use the features more so that every admin or person can gain more knowledge about this technology.""There is room for improvement with the user interface. There are a few things that cannot be done in the GUI. We do a lot of things through the CLI, but that's grown out of a lack of ability to do them in the GUI. An example is QTrees. You can manage them within the GUI, but the GUI is missing a few options.""There is room for improvement in terms of support. I have noticed that if I sometimes call their customer care for a particular issue, they will give me another number and ask me to call that other team. It would be better if they could do a warm transfer. That would save customers time from calling all the numbers again and speaking to another team."

More NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Cons →

"In the future, the limitation is upgrading the same storage by adding a shelf to the desk. There is a limitation in the backend connection between the storage and extended shelf.""I'd like to be able to connect to tape drives behind the storage device to back up the tape if need be. We have all of our storage running in all-flash, and we make a copy on tape. Currently, when we want to hook up tape drives, we have to add some extra equipment, which is a little bit complex. We want IBM to add a feature where we could install a tape into the storage so that we can connect it through a single pane of glass. We'd like to have a feature in the IBM flash storage system so that we can connect backup tape drives through the IBM storage system and we can manage the backup tape from the storage system.""Deduplication and compression should be improved."

More IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe Cons →

"The solution is not cheap.""When we were doing some tests, we found that there was an I/O freeze when they were switching the controller.""We understand that they're thinking about it, but one of the things that would be nice is if they added some basic file-level capabilities to the platform. The idea is that they would run a basic NFS or CIF share from the controllers. FlashBlade is the powerhouse for File and Object storage, but if you don't need all that power, a lightweight file function would make FlashArrays more versatile.""Its price could be cheaper. It is not the cheapest one out there, but I'm not directly involved in the figures and negotiations.""It was not proactive communication.""Larger capacity and more storage ports would be the two things I'd like to see.""The backend of this solution utilizes an Active/Passive architecture, rather than an Active/Active architecture, which is a disadvantage, when compared to some of its competitors. Its storage capacity should be expanded in the next release.""I feel like there is too much automation; the user doesn't have any manual input."

More Pure Storage FlashArray Cons →

Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "We benefited from implementing all-flash by reducing our data center footprint. We took it from 30 racks to just over five. This is one of the biggest savings for us."
  • "The licensing and pricing are fine. As a reseller for the product, we need to make the differentiation in the minds of the customer. They are not just buying some tool that does only one thing, e.g., showing a LAN for a customer. The pricing is fair for what it is."
  • "In addition to simplifying the management across a mix of solutions, AFF simplifies the cost. That was one of the main reasons we purchased AFF."
  • "NetApp AFF is an expensive product, although not compared to other vendors."
  • "The pricing is pretty reasonable for what we get. But if you have to buy any more disk space, it can be quite expensive."
  • "The list price of AFF is too expensive... they need to be careful with the pricing of the new NVMe disks. They are way too expensive."
  • "I looked at other vendors for other potential projects and thought NetApp's pricing was very competitive."
  • "There is room for improvement when it comes to the cost. The cost is very high compared to other devices."
  • More NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "It's a lot less costly than cloud storage. People get surprised by the cost of cloud storage, which is extremely expensive and four or five times the cost of storage on-premises. People don't realize what they're spending on storage until they start getting bills from Amazon, Microsoft, and others. This is a good way to reduce your cloud storage expenses."
  • "The price of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe is less than Dell. For upgrades, the Dell solutions are more expensive."
  • More IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "The price, in general, is around $100,000, however, I know it costs more."
  • "They have a standardized fee; it's been the same price for 10 years straight. I am happy with the price — I think it's good."
  • "We do not incur additional costs beyond the licensing fee."
  • "My organization has a yearly license, but I believe that Pure Storage FlashArray has capacity-based licenses as well. I'm definitely happy with the pricing."
  • "There is an annual or perpetual license required for this solution."
  • "Pure is typically more expensive than everyone else. You get what you pay for, but I have lost deals to similar solutions because of pricing. They include everything, and that's another positive about Pure Storage. They aren't trying to nickel and dime their customers for different features. It is all included in one price. The license is by capacity, and the price depends on the capacity and the discount we're getting from the vendor. You get the SKU of the physical appliance, support, and maintenance, and that's it. You're licensed for whatever feature they offer. It is all rolled up into the price of the appliance."
  • "The pricing is reasonable."
  • "When we bought the unit, we bought per capacity. So, the licensing is per capacity, and the only thing that we have to buy every year or every three years is maintenance. Included in that maintenance is the upgrade of the controllers every three years at no cost to us."
  • More Pure Storage FlashArray Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Well, Is one thing NetApp Storage has vs other brand is the mix of protocol CIFS with NFS booth working together in the… more »
    Top Answer:This question is very dependent on your requirements. Both are among the best in the field. Of course, the intended cost… more »
    Top Answer:The answer depends on your needs and budget. If you want high performance (who doesn't) or let's say the latency matters… more »
    Top Answer:It's easy to use, has good stability, and many features.
    Top Answer:There are pricing options from the mid-rand to the high-range, of which the suitability depends upon the requirements.
    Top Answer:The prices are high. Except for this, there is nothing I don't like in FlashSystem. Before IBM Flash, I was using NetApp… more »
    Top Answer:Both are great platforms, but if you are considering all flash solutions, I would recommend you to consider Pure… more »
    Top Answer:We find the ease of usability and setup valuable.
    Top Answer:The licensing cost is close to zero. Every new function or functionality is included when paying the annual maintenance… more »
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    NetApp All Flash FAS, NetApp AFF, NetApp Flash FAS
    IBM FlashSystem 9100, FlashSystem 9100
    Learn More
    IBM
    Video Not Available
    Overview

    NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) is a storage infrastructure that contains only flash memory drives instead of spinning-disk drives. NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) addresses enterprise storage requirements with best-in-class data management, higher performance, and flexibility. All Flash FAS systems accelerate your operations without sacrificing the effectiveness, dependability, or adaptability of your IT infrastructure, since they are built on ONTAP data management software. As an enterprise-grade all-flash array, the NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) manages and safeguards your critical data, making your datacenter’s transition to flash simple and painless.

    NetApp All Flash FAS (AFF) is a robust, scale-out platform designed for virtualized environments and can be deployed as an independent system or a high-performance tier in a NetApp ONTAP configuration.

    NetApp All Flash FAS Features

    NetApp AFF has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Cloning and Snapshot copies combined with native space efficiency can lower storage expenses.
    • Near-zero performance impact for snapshot copy creation, cloning, and replication.
    • Application-consistent Snapshot copies simplify app management.
    • Synchronous replication using NetApp MetroCluster software, a feature that is only available from NetApp in the all-flash array market and provides zero RPO and close to zero RTO for workloads that are mission-critical.
    • Support for at-rest data encryption and an onboard key manager to help secure your data through easier key management.
    • NetApp SnapMirror replication software reduces overall system costs by replicating to any type of FAS/AFF system, whether it is all-flash, hybrid, or HDD, on premises or in the cloud.

    NetApp All Flash FAS Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing NetApp AFF. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Change the economics of your data center with flash - you'll consume 11 times less electricity, require 11 times less rack space, and spend 67 percent less on support compared to a data center using HDDs.
    • Manage data with a single piece of software for SAN and NAS settings, including flash, disk, and the cloud.
    • Within 10 minutes, you can provision storage and serve data.
    • Inline data reduction technology can reduce SSD storage by 5 to 10 times on average.
    • Protect your data using the system's best-in-class integrated data protection suite.
    • Scale out to 24 nodes, 367PB of effective capacity, and 4 million IOPS without causing disruption.
    • Accelerate applications with up to 12 times more IOPS and 20 times faster response thanks to NetApp ONTAP FlashEssentials.

    Reviews from Real Users

    NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS) stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its handling of read and write operations and its high-capacity drives. PeerSpot users take note of the advantages of these features in their reviews:

    Harish M., Senior Consultant at a tech services company, writes of the solution, “The most valuable feature is its ability to handle high-intensity read and write operations. It works very well in terms of this.” He adds, “We recently started using the volume encryption feature, which is helpful because there are some federal projects that require data at rest to be encrypted.”

    Another PeerSpot reviewer, a director at an IT Infrastructure Services department at a university, notes, “In terms of the footprint, it is far more efficient. It has smaller, higher-capacity drives than our older unit. In terms of space, power, and cooling, it has simplified things.”

    IBM FlashSystem 9100 combines the performance of flash and Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) end-to-end with the reliability and innovation of IBM FlashCore technology and the rich features of IBM Spectrum Virtualize - all in a powerful 2U enterprise-class storage system. Providing intensive data driven multicloud storage capacity, FlashSystem 9100 is deeply integrated with the software defined capabilities of IBM Spectrum Storage allowing you to easily add in the multicloud solutions that best support your business.

    Pure Storage FlashArray is the world’s first enterprise-class storage array that runs exclusively on the nonvolatile memory express (NVMe) protocol for memory access and storage. It represents a totally state-of-the-art type of storage technology. It offers users shared accelerated storage that delivers cutting-edge features in the realms of performance, simplicity, and consolidation. Pure Storage is fresh and modern today and will be for the next decade. Without forklift upgrades or planned downtime, Pure Storage takes the work out of storage ownership and delivers unprecedented customer satisfaction.

    Pure Storage FlashArray is built with simplicity and reliability in mind. The solution can be implemented and optimized in hours, as opposed to other similar solutions that can take days. It has no moving parts, which removes areas where it could potentially be vulnerable to suffering errors. It is highly stable and gives users the ability to manage system shutdowns in a way that  prevents data loss.

    Benefits of Pure Storage FlashArray

    Some of the benefits of using Pure Storage FlashArray include:

    • A much higher level of speed than similar pieces of technology. Pure Storage FlashArray maximizes the speed at which data can be transferred while at the same time minimizing system latencies that might slow the transfer down. Additionally, it offers users quick memory read and data access speeds.

    • A higher bang for your buck in terms of the storage capabilities you get for the money you pay. They are smaller in size than more standard storage technologies, but they offer flash memory, which enables users to store larger amounts of data than the current standard.

    Reviews from Real Users

    Pure Storage FlashArray is a highly effective piece of storage technology which stands out among its competitors for a number of reasons. Two major ones are its overall robustness and the value that it offers by way of its reliability and ease of use. It provides users with many valuable features that allow them to maximize what they can do with this solution. Pure Storage FlashArray’s reliability and ease of use make it a highly valuable solution. 

    PeerSpot user Prabakaran K., a technical consultant at Injazat Data Systems, notes the robustness of this solution when he writes, "FlashArray has many valuable features. It's very user-friendly and it has high availability, so there is comparatively less downtime. During maintenance, there is no shutdown procedure, so you can directly power off the Array and manage the shutdown process without any data loss, which is a unique feature. Managing replication and data migration is also very easy."

    PeerSpot user Jason D., a cloud solutions architect at a tech services company, notes three features that make this solution valuable when he writes, "We've had different types of storage, and three things of this solution are valuable. The first one is its outstanding performance. The second one is its stability. In the about three years that we've had it, we've had component failures, but we never had a service interruption or any data loss. The third one, which is really critical, is that it is super easy to use in terms of provisioning, storage, and managing the arrays. I'm able to maintain a multi-site environment with a couple of dozen arrays with a single mid-level storage admin."

    Offer
    Learn more about NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS)
    Learn more about IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe
    Learn more about Pure Storage FlashArray
    Sample Customers
    Acibadem Healthcare Group, AmTrust Financial Services, Citrix Systems, DWD, Mantra Group
    Information Not Available
    Nielsen, Lamar Advertising, LinkedIn, Betfair, UT-Dallas
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Healthcare Company16%
    Financial Services Firm12%
    Energy/Utilities Company9%
    Computer Software Company8%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company23%
    Comms Service Provider17%
    Manufacturing Company10%
    Government6%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company23%
    Financial Services Firm19%
    Comms Service Provider12%
    Insurance Company5%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm20%
    Healthcare Company13%
    Manufacturing Company9%
    Government7%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Computer Software Company20%
    Comms Service Provider10%
    Financial Services Firm9%
    Manufacturing Company8%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business12%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise75%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business21%
    Midsize Enterprise18%
    Large Enterprise61%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business43%
    Midsize Enterprise29%
    Large Enterprise29%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business30%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise54%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business26%
    Midsize Enterprise17%
    Large Enterprise57%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business23%
    Midsize Enterprise15%
    Large Enterprise62%
    Buyer's Guide
    IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe vs. Pure Storage FlashArray
    January 2023
    Find out what your peers are saying about IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe vs. Pure Storage FlashArray and other solutions. Updated: January 2023.
    670,523 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe is ranked 21st in All-Flash Storage with 3 reviews while Pure Storage FlashArray is ranked 2nd in All-Flash Storage with 44 reviews. IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe is rated 9.4, while Pure Storage FlashArray is rated 9.0. The top reviewer of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe writes "A game-changer product that doesn't fail, and as compared to the prior generation products, takes about 20% of space and uses about 85% less energy". On the other hand, the top reviewer of Pure Storage FlashArray writes "Provides protection against ransomware threats with immutable snapshots, and it is well known for its scalability, ease of use, and non-disruptive upgrades". IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe is most compared with Dell PowerStore, Dell PowerMax NVMe, IBM FlashSystem, HPE Primera and HPE Nimble Storage, whereas Pure Storage FlashArray is most compared with Dell PowerStore, IBM FlashSystem, VMware vSAN, HPE Nimble Storage and Dell Unity XT. See our IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe vs. Pure Storage FlashArray report.

    See our list of best All-Flash Storage vendors.

    We monitor all All-Flash Storage reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.