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Storage as-a-service model beckons for Pure Storage partners

Storage as-a-service model beckons for Pure Storage partners

New Zealand-based Pure Storage elite partner Sempre says partners are looking to boost annuity revenues too.

Antony Bridle (Sempre)

Antony Bridle (Sempre)

Credit: Sempre

Opportunities and challenges loom for partners after Pure Storage's overnight launch of a new generation of products and expanded ownership options. 

Pure's new FlashBlade//S family offers a modular architecture built on co-designed hardware and software with more than double the density, performance and power efficiency of previous versions. It is also designed to allow the platform to evolve over time in alignment with customer requirements. 

For partners, however, a future-proofed platform with a choice of increasingly subscription-based ownership models sets them off on the same course many software partners had to navigate with the arrival of SaaS systems and the cloud. 

That shift changed the cashflow equation significantly, with payments arriving over time rather than loaded towards the front as was usual when selling traditional hardware.

Pure's new "Evergreen" services allow customers to receive non-disruptive upgrades so they don't have to worry about platform obsolescence, data migration or so-called "forklift" upgrades. With an expanded range of new options under which to procure the new systems, users don't even have to own the hardware any more.

Matthew Oostveen, Pure’s vice-president and CTO of APJ, said the new generation Flashblade would be the last scale-out platform a customer will need to buy. 

Scale-out storage enables a storage pool to scale by adding incremental nodes of processing, memory, and disk capacity.

The enhanced Evergreen options wee a design ethos that enabled Pure’s systems to remain current, Oostveen said. A customer subscribes to a system that is always improving and never needs to be replaced because new capabilities could be switched on as they were released.

Antony Bridle, director of Pure elite partner Sempre, which has offices in Auckland and Christchurch, told Reseller News Sempre had invested time and effort to scale up around Pure because of its innovation and
engineering.

“As new technologies are coming in Pure seems to be to be there at the forefront of it all,” Bridle said. “That’s really important for our customers.”

The drive to solid state drives (SSD) and the promised elimination of obsolescence also spoke to customers pursuing sustainability goals, he said.

“Customers are demanding consumption models,” Bridle said. “Pure changed the market, really, with Evergreen. Having every option from buy your own to consume as a service I think will be really good for our customers.”

Bridle said while Pure was very aware of the value partners brought, the biggest challenge for Sempre was the change in the way revenue would flow.

“The same revenue ends up coming over a longer period and actually it’s more sticky,” he said. “But for us it’s just accepting that maybe the high-level revenue number is going to take a hit but moving to annuity revenue after that is pretty positive for partners."

Everyone wanted annuity revenue, he said, so having the ability to move into a more annuity model was a positive for Sempre.

The fact Pure’s revenue growth is impressive may also ease that shift: the company’s annual revenue for 2022 was nearly $2.2 billion, up 29.5 per cent from 2021.

That was the result of Pure delivering systems that Bridle described as “simple, predictable and performant”.

“It does what it says on the box," he said. "I think Pure customers are happy with the platform and want to continue using it.

“Most customers that we deal with are looking at how they can save the operational cost by getting their teams off day-to-day keeping the lights on and adding more value back to the business. You need simple, predictable infrastructure to do that.”

While Pure’s annual growth was impressive, it announced an even better first quarter 2023 number earlier this month, with revenue up close to 50 per cent on the same period last year.

“That means 50 per cent of the growth really wasn’t ours so much: it was people like Antony’s,” Oostveen said.

“We can’t do it without them but they are the ones who are experiencing this big uptick as well.”

That was because of "simple elegant engineering", designed for Flash, he said. “The people that use it want to use it more. They are our best sales people.”

Bridle said for Sempre that simple platform provided the opportunity to wrap other services around the utility model and to add more value.

“We are quite excited around new models coming out because it allows us to add more parts of our business, particularly annuity parts like managed services and professional services, in and around the platform," he said.

As well as the new architecture, highlights of the announcement were across the board enhancements to Evergreen:

Evergreen//Forever, formerly Evergreen Gold, offered organisations traditional appliance ownership with a subscription to software and ever-modern hardware that Pure said "gets better over time".

Evergreen//Flex boosted the efficiency of storage fleets by offering users a way of running storage efficiently while saving power. Users are now allowed and enabled to move performance and stranded capacity to where it is needed by data and applications. 

 Formerly Pure as-a-Service, Evergreen//One offered customers a consumption-based service model, along with monitoring and non-disruptive upgrades while satisfying performance and usage SLAs. Pure takes on the responsibility of delivering storage where it is required, offering on-demand storage with the flexibility of on premises deployment.


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