Buyer's Guide
All-Flash Storage
March 2023
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Solutions Architect at a wholesaler/distributor with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Provides protection against ransomware threats with immutable snapshots, and it is well known for its scalability, ease of use, and non-disruptive upgrades
Pros and Cons
  • "One of the features that my customers are really interested in is immutable snapshots. There are immutable snapshots to which your applications can be reverted back if you are hit by some kind of ransomware threat or malicious attack. That's kind of a key deal, and it is one of the selling points I use to point out to my customers the value and the features that Pure Storage brings to the table."
  • "I like what they're doing, but some of my customers complain that they do not have all the bells and whistles and knobs to fine-tune workloads that some of the competitors have. In my opinion, that's good. All customers don't have dedicated storage gurus, and they can get themselves into trouble if they fine-tune too many of those high-performance knobs, but they do get knocked down. Pure Storage takes a hit in the minds and opinions of some of the customers because they cannot customize things as much as compared to a legacy storage provider's appliance such as NetApp, Dell EMC, or even HPE. I personally think 95% of my customers are better off letting the system fine-tune itself. That was something that you needed to do 12 or 15 years ago, but now with all-flash, the technology can handle what it needs to handle. Customers just end up shooting themselves in the foot if they are tweaking too many default settings."

What is our primary use case?

I'm a pre-sales architect. I architect, and I sell them as a partner with Pure Storage on the VAR side. Our customers use it for storage, mainly block-based storage and virtualization storage. Some solutions have both block and file storage, and some solutions only have file storage from Pure. 

How has it helped my organization?

It provides additional protection against ransomware threats. If you are hit by some kind of ransomware threat or some kind of malicious attack, you can revert your data back in time to a previous version or snapshot.

What is most valuable?

One of the features that my customers are really interested in is immutable snapshots. There are immutable snapshots to which your applications can be reverted back if you are hit by some kind of ransomware threat or malicious attack. That's kind of a key deal, and it is one of the selling points I use to point out to my customers the value and the features that Pure Storage brings to the table.

Scalability, ease of use, and non-disruptive upgrades are also valuable. They're not using flash just for your tier one storage needs. They're recommending flash for data protection and archive backup, which is the way to go.

If you get the gold support, which is what I sell and recommend for my customers, Pure's support personnel will take care of both software and hardware upgrades, which is another feather in Pure's cap. They make several claims that once you move to Pure Storage, you can take your team of five dedicated storage admins and trim it down to just one person. Their mantra is getting customers out of the game of managing storage and letting the vendor manage the storage. They want to see their customers just consume storage. They have non-disruptive upgrades. You just set up the software and hardware and just consume the storage. They're continuously looking at the dial-homes, the logs that are automatically sent, and fingerprinting potential issues before they're even a problem. That cuts down on a lot of support tickets the customers have to open up. They'll proactively open up tickets when they see something in their analytics on a particular customer's array and recognize that one of their hosts might have a certain HBA with a fault or a bug. They reach out and open a ticket. So, you get your system upgrade, patched, or whatever is needed to resolve the potential problem.

What needs improvement?

I like what they're doing, but some of my customers complain that they do not have all the bells and whistles and knobs to fine-tune workloads that some of the competitors have. In my opinion, that's good. All customers don't have dedicated storage gurus, and they can get themselves into trouble if they fine-tune too many of those high-performance knobs, but they do get knocked down. Pure Storage takes a hit in the minds and opinions of some of the customers because they cannot customize things as much as compared to a legacy storage provider's appliance such as NetApp, Dell EMC, or even HPE. I personally think 95% of my customers are better off letting the system fine-tune itself. That was something that you needed to do 12 or 15 years ago, but now with all-flash, the technology can handle what it needs to handle. Customers just end up shooting themselves in the foot if they are tweaking too many default settings.

Pure is typically more expensive than everyone else. They can work on the price to make it more competitive.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Its stability is very good. I have not heard any of my customers having issues with FlashArray. It is very solid. They claim 99.9999% availability. I haven't had any problems with outages with my customers. 

They have another product called FlashBlade, which is a different type of storage appliance that Pure does for unstructured files. FlashBlade doesn't rank as high in reliability as their flagship FlashArray product does. The FlashBlade product is a notch below. It is a newer product or code, and I have heard of some issues with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Its scalability is very good. It scales up instead of out, which is typical for a block-based appliance. It is very easy to add expansion shelves or disks. You don't need to worry about shuffling drives around and creating RAID groups. This is all legacy stuff. Most vendors are now the same, but I really think that Pure led the effort for non-disruptive upgrades. They coined the term, and other vendors have since followed suit. They're the leader in the industry for that.

How are customer service and technical support?

Their regular support is good. With gold support, Pure's support personnel takes care of both software and hardware upgrades. The only difference between free support and gold support is that you don't get free hardware upgrades with free support. If I understand the offering correctly, software upgrades are still included. 

How was the initial setup?

If we're just talking about Pure Storage, it is straightforward and simple. You can get it up in minutes as opposed to hours that some of the other solutions take. Compared to its competitive solutions, Pure is very well known for its simplicity and ease of use, especially during setup and initialization.

A single 2U appliance from Pure Storage for block-based workloads, including rack stack and initialization, is ready to be provisioned to your servers in an hour or an hour and a half to the max. It is definitely straightforward.

If you get the gold support, Pure's support personnel will take care of both software and hardware upgrades. So, you don't have to manage storage. Pure takes care of that.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

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.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to chose well. Prepare to have extra time on your hands to focus on your business's core needs and outcomes and not having to worry about the day-to-day maintenance of your storage appliance.

All my customers are pretty happy with most Pure Storage solutions. They might ask for customization level, but I think Pure is doing the right thing by its set-it-and-forget-it approach. Most customers don't need to fine-tune and customize their all-flash storage appliances anymore. It is not a legacy spinning disk appliance.

I would rate Pure Storage FlashArray a nine out of 10. Its pricing sometimes plays a big part where customers might go in a different direction, and that's the only reason why I'm not giving it a 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
IT Administrator at a construction company with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
There have been multiple problems with stability, yet the performance makes our system faster
Pros and Cons
  • "For access from virtual machines, iSCSI, and NFS, it is very good. It helps increase performance."
  • "The upgrades themselves are running fine, but after the upgrade is when we have a problem. With the update to 1.4, we had a head crash. They told us, 'This is a known issue. Please upgrade to 2.' We upgraded to 2 and, one week later they told us, 'Yeah, there are some issues in 2.0.0. You can lose data. Please upgrade to 2.0.1.' Overall, they need to make the system stable."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for machines from VMware vCenter which we keep separate from the PowerStore. It is only the storage. They are connected with iSCSI and NFS. We have no virtual machines directly on the PowerStore.

How has it helped my organization?

We are very impressed by the power of the system. We have gained performance for all our virtual machines and our system is running very fast.

Another benefit, for us, is the dedupe rate.

What is most valuable?

For access from virtual machines, iSCSI, and NFS, it is very good. It helps increase performance.

Also, the live dedupe application is very good.

What needs improvement?

In the first weeks, we had some problems with the dedupe. According to the warranty, we should have had a dedupe rate of at least two and we had not reached this value. We got an additional hard disk to match the planned capacity of the system and this helped a lot. We got to a dedupe rate of 1.9, and this was very good.

What we are missing is the monitoring. We cannot implement the health check of the system in our monitoring system. We have to open the PowerStore GUI every day.

Also, we have tried to install a separate virtual machine to integrate PowerStore to vCenter. VMware then provides a virtual machine with Photon OS. We have done this integration two times and it has run for some weeks. Then it stops working and I don't know why. We have not used it again. It has nice features and has saved a lot of time and creates a good integration, but it needs to be more stable.

Overall, they need to make the system stable. Again and again, we have problems with upgrades. The upgrades themselves are running fine, but after the upgrade is when we have a problem. With the update to 1.4, we had a head crash. They told us, "This is a known issue. Please upgrade to 2." We upgraded to 2 and, one week later they told us, "Yeah, there are some issues in 2.0.0. You can lose data. Please upgrade to 2.0.1." Overall, they need to make the system stable.

I try to avoid updates for such important, central systems. They require downtime for the whole company, as this is our only storage. It's not good to do so many upgrades. I have used other storage systems and, with them, it was never necessary to do so many upgrades in one year. Last year, I did four upgrades for the PowerStore but I have never done four upgrades over the lifetime of other storage systems. They have run four, five, or six years, sometimes more. I have never patched so often as I have with PowerStore.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using Dell EMC PowerStore since December of last year, so almost a year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The problem is the stability. We have a single system and on three occasions we have had unplanned head reboots because of a software failure. The positive side is that there was no impact as a result because there are two heads. It's not good to reboot a head, and we have submitted tickets about it, but the performance and the failover have been good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We only have a single machine and we are currently using half of the hard disk slots. We have asked for an upgrade for the rest of the hard disks but, from my point of view, it costs too much. We have 12 to 15 hard disks inside and if we try to upgrade only the hard disks, it costs the same as the complete system. This is something I don't understand. It makes no sense. Buying 16 hard disks with storage costs about €40,000 and buying only 16 hard disks costs the same.

How are customer service and support?

Dell EMC's first-level technical support is very fast and they communicate well. Sometimes they explain things so I can understand why something is working the way it is. But currently, we have a ticket at the second level and for two weeks I have had no answer. 

The issue is that each day we get a message from the storage, every three hours, telling us the network connectivity is lost. I don't know if this is true or not, and whether it is a failure. That is the ticket at level two but I have had no information about its status.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Neutral

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have used NetApp as well as HPE in the past. In this company, they replaced NetApp with PowerStore because the NetApp system was slow. The dedupe needed much improvement. If they stopped the dedupe, then the system power would go down. And the backup procedure took a lot of time. With PowerStore we have reduced the time for the backup by half or more.

In terms of the decision process to go with PowerStore, I was not working here at the time. After I started the company said, "Okay, in two weeks we are getting new storage. Please integrate it into our infrastructure." I know they needed a more powerful storage system and they wanted an upgrade option for the system.

How was the initial setup?

The integration of PowerStore into our existing environment was very straightforward. We had an external partner that helped us, but we had prepared the system in a test environment. We took that system and put it into the production system in about eight hours and the system was running. We then started to migrate the machines. It was a good implementation process and very fast.

We have two administrators of the solution. They are working with the system full-time handling requests to change hard disks or volumes, and they create new volumes. Across the company we have about 300 users using virtual machines and virtual desktops that are stored on the PowerStore.

What other advice do I have?

The performance of PowerStore is good, but I don't feel the software is completely ready. We have upgraded the system and have had failures on the system. I have never seen as many head crashes on other systems as we have had on the PowerStore in the last year. The system is fast but not stable enough.

I would not buy the system again. You should wait some years until the software is ready and doesn't have a new software release every two months.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Technical Consultant at Fidelity International
Consultant
Top 10
Useful data protection group, effective compression, and stable
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable feature of Dell EMC XtremIO is the data protection (DP) group, it is one of the most advanced features in these types of arrays. The dedupe and compression that this array provides both do a superb job."
  • "In the next release, the solution could have better integration and if we can host assets on the cloud, such as NetApp has the NetApp volumes, which we can host on the cloud directly called NetApp CVO (cloud volume ONTAP). Dell EMC should come up with something purely on the cloud rather than manage services."

What is our primary use case?

We use Dell EMC XtremIO for block data and VDA profiles.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature of Dell EMC XtremIO is the data protection (DP) group, it is one of the most advanced features in these types of arrays. The dedupe and compression that this array provides both do a superb job.

What needs improvement?

The replication of Dell EMC XtremIO could improve. In the newer versions they have improved, however, the replication can be improved further where we can include concurrent or cascaded methodologies.

In the next release, the solution could have better integration and if we can host assets on the cloud, such as NetApp has the NetApp volumes, which we can host on the cloud directly called NetApp CVO (cloud volume ONTAP). Dell EMC should come up with something purely on the cloud rather than manage services.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Dell EMC XtremIO for approximately seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stable and has good performance, it guarantees millions of files. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Dell EMC XtremIO is scalable and it is easy to do. However, we cannot have more than four bricks.

We have approximately 10 people in the storage team who use the solution and 5,000 use the services in my organization. 

The solution is used on a daily basis. The media profiles are launched for each user and it communicates to the Dell EMC XtremIO daily.

How are customer service and support?

We contact technical support whenever there's a hardware failure. If there is a software glitch, such as the one we had where the connectivity status used to flicker. It had to show eight parts, but it flickered and showed five, six, seven, and eight, all the parts. The flickering in the database, which resides within the XtremIO management server actively tweaked a bit and we had a support engineering case open for it with the Dell support. However, it didn't materialize, this is something that should be fixed in the next update.

Overall I would rate the support Dell EMC XtremIO a nine out of ten. We don't reach out to them. Nine only because the hardware could be more durable. All the SSD's could use a single-level cell rather than a multi-cell.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I previously used SolidFire and NetApp. There is a third solution I have used called Violin Memory which is not used much, but it's a very good contender. 

The advantages of Dell EMC XtremIO are the market share Dell has and dependability.

All the other solutions are going more towards iSCSI connectivity while Dell is moving away from iSCSI and towards XtremIO's that offer both iSCSI and FC. There is not much development for iSCSI, this is a limiting factor.

How was the initial setup?

The installation was straightforward. If you have everything in place in the network, it would only take two days maximum.

What about the implementation team?

The implementation can be done by the customer, it is done by racking and stacking them.

The solution has a redundant component, there are only disc replacements or battery backups replacement required.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price of the solution should be reduced. The price matches the price of a VMAX service but it does not have the capability of a VMAX service. However, the prices of Dell EMC XtremIO can be reduceable.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend this solution to others, it will make their life easier.

I rate Dell EMC XtremIO an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
Mohamed-Hassan - PeerSpot reviewer
Microfinance at a consultancy with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 10
Steady performance, responsive support, and high availability
Pros and Cons
  • "The most valuable features of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe are its steady performance and usefulness in high-traffic environments."
  • "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."

What is our primary use case?

I'm depending on IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe for enterprise storage with a high rate of IOPS. We use it for hosting a banking application.

How has it helped my organization?

I have used IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe storage banking and it is currently hosting all of the bank's applications. I have not noticed any decrease in performance and it has been a great addition to our IT team in a demanding banking environment.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe are its steady performance and usefulness in high-traffic environments.

What needs improvement?

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.

There is a limitation in the backend connection of the storage or expansion that could improve.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe for approximately five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is stability. It's a great solution and if it is maintained in time and updated with the latest server, it will remain a great solution.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

If we add a shell, the scalability depends on a legacy protocol and not the IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe which is a setback.

At the previous bank, I worked at we had approximately 9,000 users. We are using the solution at its full capacity.

I rate the scalability of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe a seven out of ten.

How are customer service and support?

The support is expert and responsive. They are excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have previously used NetApp and Dell storage.

How was the initial setup?

This specific implementation included many tasks, such as updating the firmware, configuring settings, creating storage pools, and adding hosts. The average time for the initial setup, including the configuration and support, was approximately three to four hours.

I rate the initial setup of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe a ten out of ten for administrators.

I rate the initial setup of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe a five out of ten for the regular user.

What about the implementation team?

For this solution, a certified licensed partner should do the implementation. If it's an enterprise solution, it should be handled by the vendor. If it's intermediate storage it can be handled by me or the third party licensed IBM.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The price of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe is less than Dell. For upgrades, the Dell solutions are more expensive.

I rate the price of IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe a seven out of ten.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did not evaluate other solutions before using IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe. I have used Dell and IBM and depending on the market these two vendors are doing a lot of marketing here in Egypt. They have the biggest market share in Egypt.

What other advice do I have?

It is important to do a thorough assessment of the sizing needs when considering the IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe, as it is a costly product. It is not easy to upgrade multiple times, so the administrator or company should carefully consider their needs before making a purchase.

I rate IBM FlashSystem 9100 NVMe a ten out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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Senior Storage Specialist, Digital Systems at Shaw Communications
Real User
Top 20
Beneficial management software, straightforward installation, and good support
Pros and Cons
  • "The management software that runs in the cloud is called InfoSight and it is very good. It is similar to machine learning software that monitors your hardware."
  • "I would like to have more administrative rights, for example, root-level administrative rights to the underlying OS of the storage array. We want more access to the kind of underlying infrastructure of the storage array rather than relying on support. However, most companies are looking to have more managed solutions which is the opposite direction of what I want."

What is our primary use case?

We use HPE Nimble Storage for VMware VMDK object workloads.

How has it helped my organization?

The first installation we did was at a mine in South America, Chile, in a place called Ike where the elevation was very high that spinning disks were failing, the meantime for failure was low. The main reason we put our first all-flash array was that it was solid-state which has no moving parts. This solution allowed our organization to operate in that location.

What is most valuable?

The management software that runs in the cloud is called InfoSight and it is very good. It is similar to machine learning software that monitors your hardware.

What needs improvement?

I would like to have more administrative rights, for example, root-level administrative rights to the underlying OS of the storage array. We want more access to the kind of underlying infrastructure of the storage array rather than relying on support. However, most companies are looking to have more managed solutions which is the opposite direction of what I want. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using HPE Nimble Storage for four years.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have approximately 5,000 virtual machines servers and over 100 storage arrays and they are placed all over our organization. We are using this solution extensively in our organization.

How are customer service and support?

The technical support has been good in our experience. I have worked with the support quite a lot and I have not had any issues with their support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have used NetApp previously and our management preferred to use HPE Nimble Storage.

How was the initial setup?

The installation is straightforward. The whole implementation took use approximately one day.

What about the implementation team?

We did the implementation using an in-house team. The solution does not require a lot of maintenance. I have not updated the software in a year and when it is updated it is all done online with no downtime.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There is a one-time price for hardware, and with the software support, everything is included, such as software upgrades. The licensing of the solution is included in the cost of the hardware and the support is an extra cost. We have purchased support on an annual basis, but you can purchase support up front for up to seven years. We usually buy five years and near the time of the expiry, we sometimes extend it. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have evaluated Pure Storage and they are very similar to HPE Nimble Storage but are a lot more expensive. For ease of setup and cost perspective, HPE Nimble Storage is the better choice.

What other advice do I have?

We are transitioning a lot of our hardware to Azure and we partnered with Microsoft on their cloud services. For our on-premise setup, we are doing a switch from traditional storage arrays to more of a VMware Cloud Foundation type of structure where we are using VMware vSAN instead of storage arrays.

I rate HPE Nimble Storage an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
All-Flash Storage
March 2023
Get our free report covering Lenovo, Dell Technologies, Pure Storage, and other competitors of NetApp AFF (All Flash FAS). Updated: March 2023.
685,707 professionals have used our research since 2012.