Pure Storage Doubles Down on VVols and a Few Other Things

For a long time, VVols have appeared to be a solution looking for a problem. For the uninitiated, we will first give a brief outline of what VVols are and identify the problem that they purport to solve. On the face of it, it is nothing more than the ability to do one VM to one datastore. However, it is much more than that. VVols are the logical extension of this paradigm in a modern environment. VVols allow for policy-based metrics to be applied to individual virtual machines rather than at a datastore level. Why could this not be done with traditional datastores? Quite simply, the ESXi is limited to 256 LUNs per host. Now, this might sound like a lot, but consider that this would limit you to 256 guests per cluster if you wished to utilize vMotion or Storage vMotion. Not exactly optimal.

Enter VVols

VVols are VMware’s next-generation answer to VMDK storage. At a very high level, they may be considered akin to a container for a VM: the entire machine is encapsulated in the VVol. However, as an analogy, it does not go far enough. The abilities of VVols are much more nuanced.

The image below outlines the differences in deployment.

VVols Comparison
VVols and Traditional Datastores

Now, VVols are not new technology. They were introduced with vSphere 6.0, and quite a few storage vendors have released support for it in their products. One vendor that has been conspicuous by its absence from this list is Pure Storage. However, no more. With its latest release of Purity version 5.0, it is now fully on the VVols party wagon.

Its latest release comes with full support for VASA 3.0, which includes array-based replication and is a free option. That is correct: free. Pure Storage does not license its software. If your Pure array supports Purity 5.0, then you will get VVols. Therefore, VVols are supported on all FA 400 models (405, 420, and 450), the M models (m10, m20, m50, and m70), and the FlashArray, so pretty much all its products. Pure may have been late to the party, but it has turned up looking very stylish.

If this were all that was released with Purity 5.0, it would be a significant release, but it is feature packed.

There is a release of a new clustering technology called Active Cluster, which is a multisite active-active metro cluster; again, at no extra charge buy a second array configure Active Cluster “Simples.” Couple this with Cloud Mediator, and you can configure a three site for redundancy (due with Q4 update).

Purity Run provides a platform to run custom code, allowing customers to extend interfaces and enable analytic processing to happen where data is stored, meaning that customers can now host VMs and containers on the FlashArray itself, a pseudo-HCI platform. Its first use case will be the enablement of Windows file services to allow file-level access to its arrays: yes, SBM2/3 and NFS3/4 protocols direct to the array.

Its platform is 100% NVMe compliant. Need more oomph on your array? Swap out a flash-based shelf with one running NVMe (Q4 update).

Purity 5.0 is turning out to be a  bit of a game changer for Pure. The features in this release enable a much more secure seat at the feasting table that is enterprise storage.

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