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Modernizing the data center with NVMe and Automation

By rrajavasireddy posted 05-16-2018 08:23 AM


Guest blog by Rajiev Rajavasireddy - Vice President, Product Management & Solutions at Pure Storage



In the classic film, “City Slickers”, the old, crusty cowboy named Curly gives the burned-out ad man, Mitch, a sage piece of advice, namely, the secret to life is to find your 'one thing'. As technologists, we spend a great deal of time talking about the pluses and minuses of specific technologies, or where to best use a specific technology, ad infinitum. But, ultimately, on the vendor side, we exist really for only 'one thing':  to help our customers focus on their core business, which is their ‘one thing.’

For us to do our ‘one thing’ to help our customers do their ‘one thing’, we’ve concluded modernizing the data center is a critical means to that end.  Simply put, a modern data center allows enterprises to:

-          Benefit from incredible performance

-          While making the complex simple

-          So, an enterprise can focus on their core business (their “one thing”)

As enterprises deploy strategies and technologies to modernize their data center, they must not only consider the storage infrastructure, but also the entire infrastructure which enables applications to access data on storage. There are two maturing technologies which hold a lot of promise:  NVMe and Automation, which we want to discuss in more detail in this blog.

NVMe Update

The network is a critical piece of how applications benefit from storage performance.  That’s the reason the majority of Pure’s all-flash storage array traffic is networked with Fibre Channel today. Since the network connections to Pure Storage all-flash arrays is important for application performance, another technology enabling Pure Storage to provide extraordinary storage performance is NVMe. In fact, the installation of NVMe in storage is becoming so prevalent, during our last earnings call, we noted we anticipate the vast majority of enterprises will deploy Pure Storage with NVMe in the near future.


With the maturation of NVMe as a storage protocol, NVMe over Fibre Channel is starting to gain interest in the marketplace.  Over time, we anticipate customers may transition to NVMe over Fibre Channel and may run both protocols across the network.  Our technology alliance partner, Brocade, a Broadcom Ltd company, is a leader with NVMe over Fibre Channel, and their latest generations of Fibre Channel products (Gen 6 and Gen 5 Fibre Channel) support NVMe over Fibre Channel without disruptive upgrades, running concurrently with standard Fibre Channel traffic. 


As the market matures around these technologies, Pure Storage will work closely with Brocade to provide market-leading solutions to our customers.


Complexity Made Simple...with Automation

In addition to performance, a modern data center also needs to make the complex simple. DevOps has become an important conduit for many customers to do so, and both Pure Storage and Brocade have many tools available to enable DevOps teams to simplify the operation of their data centers. Enterprises can now develop a DevOps strategy which incorporates their choice of a single management and automation tool for the Pure Storage and the Brocade storage network, simplifying management of tasks with automation.


With Pure Storage, any tool or piece of software invoking the FlashArray REST API can automate and orchestrate FlashArray activity. Pure Storage’s PowerShell and Python software development kits add  more value to this motion, enabling a number of third party products supporting automation to run with Pure Storage.


And with Brocade’s recent announcement of REST API availability for Brocade storage networking products, PyFOS utilizing Python scripting language, and both Pure Storage and Brocade providing Ansible modules, DevOps team have more tools at their fingertips to simplify their company’s operations and increase productivity with an automation strategy including both storage *and* storage networking.


The One Thing

So, this brings us back to Curly the cowboy.  What is our “one thing”?  It’s to provide an infrastructure that allows our customers to focus on their core businesses. Our partnership with Brocade augments our ability to provide solutions with incredible performance, making the complex simpler, so our customers can focus on their “one thing”.