What are my top 10 reasons for hopping onto Pure Storage?

Photo credit: Pure Storage Inc
Top 10 reasons for hopping into Pure Storage ride

If you had asked me about Pure Storage a year ago, I would have said that it was one of the leading flash storage array vendors in the market. Although I was not wrong, I must confess that my view then was a bit myopic. Once I got to know this company better, I couldn’t resist joining its team as one of Puritans. Here are my top 10 reasons.

  1. Reliving VERITAS (Software): Don’t you remember your first crush? Do you hope to build a time machine to meet her again? VERITAS and Sun Microsystems used to be my crush as I got into technology. Pure Storage reminds me of that VERITAS of early 2000s, she was the hottest girl in the bar. Everyone wants to partner with her because she stole the show from aging big irons.
  1. It is all about fostering the team, not building MVPs: The Company hires people with the mindset to work towards a bigger mission. Irrespective of the title and role, employees know how to talk both business values and technical merits of what is being build to solve unmet needs of customers. There is a sense of accomplishment on where Puritans are today; at the same time there is a strong ambition for where they want to be in future.
  1. Open workspaces: When you walk into a Pure Storage facility, you would notice the open collaborative workspaces. You cannot distinguish between spots that are used by university hires and VPs. When a Puritan needs your attention, he/she may just come to your desk, yell across the desk, instant message or shoot Nerf darts. I am sending my letter to Santa for a good Nerf gun.
  2. Insider view matters: We all know the value of someone recommending us for a role in an organization. I am fortunate to be around people who believe in what I could bring to the table. Two Puritans who had been with VERITAS in their previous lives helped me understand Pure Storage from insiders’ perspective. These individuals are thought leaders who weren’t shy to take some bold risks to embrace what Pure had promised.
  1. It is not all about work – work – work: Puritans know how to have fun. Tons of pictures in social media speak for themselves. #PaintItOrange
  1. The innovation starts with software: All-flash array (AFA) is the tangible product from Pure, but the innovation started with its core Purity Operating System that powers those arrays. Enterprise grade reliability and performance that is coupled with consumer level simplicity and efficiency could make you see why Pure is considered the Apple of data centers.
  1. Harnessing the power of cloud: Many big vendors in enterprise IT talk about cloud as a way to stay relevant as disruption is imminent. How many times have you seen the same legacy technology repackaged as ‘cloud offering’? Pure Storage used cloud as an opportunity to redefine and merge the lines between management and support services. Pure1 is just the beginning of this innovation.
  1. Storage virtualization meets data virtualization: Storage virtualization is a way to consolidate and manage storage media to improve availability, efficiency and performance. Data virtualization levels up the same paradigm where the application/data owner can create and manage copies without the need to understand where and how it is stored physically. Pure Storage’s data reduction methods and space efficient copy creations blur the line between storage and data virtualization.
  1. Nip CDM problem in the bud: Thanks to the early works from analyst firms like IDC and players like Actifio and Delphix, organizations are starting to understand the storage waste created by copy data. Legacy storage vendors have no motivation to solve the problem, as it would cannibalize high margin revenue from spinning disks. Purity’s approach to virtualize storage and data while letting the application owner manage copies from their familiar tools is powerful enough to kill copy-data sprawl at the source.
  1. Mission and drive to lead the market: Unlike many storage startups that were designed for sale to incumbents, Pure Storage is on a mission to become a mainstream player. While I understand that Pure Storage’s board of directors has the fiduciary duty to act on behalf of shareholders; the visionary management team, energetic employees and ecstatic customers are likely to give enough reasons to let Pure grow on its own.

Disclaimer: I am an employee of Pure Storage, Inc. My statements and opinions on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent those of Pure Storage

Note: This post originally appeared in my LinkedIn Pulse page


VMware EVO: The KFC of SDDC

EVO is the KFC of SDDC
EVO is the KFC of SDDC

VMware EVO is bringing to software-defined data centers the same type of business model that Kentucky Fried Chicken had brought to restaurants decades ago. VMware is hungry to grow and is expanding its business to new territories. Colonel Sanders’s revolutionary vision to sell his chicken recipe and brand through franchise model is now coming to IT infrastructure as ready-to-eat value meals.

Most of the press reports and analyst blogs are focused on VMware’s arrival into converged infrastructure market. Of course, vendors like Nutanix and SimpliVity will certainly lose sleep as the 800-pound gorilla has set its eyes on converged infrastructure market. However, VMware’s strategy is much deeper than taking over the converged infrastructure market from upstarts, it is a bold attempt to disrupt the business model of selling IT infrastructure stacks while keeping public cloud providers away from enterprise IT shops.

Bargaining power of supplier: Have you noticed the commanding power of VMware in EVO specifications? Partners like Dell and EMC are simply the franchisees of VMware’s infrastructure recipe and brand. It is no secret that traditional servers and storage are on the brink of disruption because buyers wouldn’t pay premium for brand names much longer. It is the time for them to let go of individuality and become delivery model for a prescriptive architecture (franchise model) from a stronger supplier in the value chain.

Software is now the king, no more OEM: In the old world where hardware vendors owned brand power and distribution chains, software vendors had to make OEM deals to get their solutions to the market in those hardware vehicles. Now the power is shifting to software. The software vendor prescribes (a softened term that actually stands for ‘dictates’) how infrastructure stacks should be built.

Short-term strategy, milk the converged infrastructure market: This is the most obvious hint VMware has given; reporters, bloggers and analysts have picked up this obvious message. As more and more CIOs are looking to reduce capital and operational costs, the demand for converged systems is growing rapidly. Even the primitive assembled-to-order type solutions from VCE and NetApp-Cisco are milking the current demand for simplified IT infrastructure stacks. Nutanix leads the pack in relatively newer and better hyper-convergence wave. VMware’s entry into this market validates that convergence is a key trend in modern IT.

Long-term strategy, own data center infrastructure end-to-end while competing with public clouds: The two of three key pillars of VMware strategy are enabling software-defined data centers and delivering hybrid clouds. Although SDDC and hybrid cloud would look like two separate missions, the combination is what is needed to fight Amazon and other public cloud solutions from taking over the workloads from IT shops. The core of VMware’s business is selling infrastructure solutions for on-prem data centers. Although VMware positions itself as the enabler of service providers, it understands that the bargaining power of customers would continue to stay low if organizations stick to on-prem solutions. This is where SDDC strategy fits. By commoditizing infrastructure components (compute, storage and networking) and shifting the differentiation to infrastructure management and service delivery, VMware wants to become the commander in control for SDDCs (just like how Intel processors dictated direction for PCs in the last two decades). EVO happens to be that SDDC recipe it wants to franchise to partners so that customers could taste the same SDDC no matter who their current preferred hardware vendors are. Thus EVO is the KFC of SDDC. It is not there as a Nutanix killer, VMware also wants to take shares from Cisco (Cisco UCS is almost #1 in server market, Cisco is #1 in networking infrastructure), EMC Storage (Let us keep the money in the family, the old man’s hardware identity is counting its days) and other traditional infrastructure players. At the same time, VMware wants to transform vCloud Air (the rebranded vCloud Hybrid Service) as the app store for EVO based SDDCs to host data services in cloud. It is a clever plan to keep selling to enterprises and hide them away from the likes of Amazon. Well played, VMware!

So what will the competitive action from Amazon and other public cloud providers? Amazon has resources to build a ready-to-eat private Fire Cloud for enterprises that can act as the gateway to AWS. All this time, Amazon focused mainly on on-prem storage solutions that extend to AWS. We can certainly expect the king of public clouds do something more. It is not a question of ‘if’; rather it is the question of ‘when’.