Pure Storage, an all-flash storage array vendor based in Mountain View, Calif., is trying to change the way storage is sold in the marketplace.
According to the company, the way storage vendors sell and service customers is by hiking prices towards the end of the storage ownership lifecycle.
The company claims that most storage vendors structure contracts in such a way that maintenance and services costs increase later on in the ownership lifecycle. These contracts are intended to garner outsized fees when customers are stuck, or to force a complete upgrade event. Gartner analysts have told Pure Storage executives that these increases can be as much as 30-40 per cent.
In addition to the cost issue, disk-based storage requires downtime and operational challenges if/when “forklift upgrades” occur.
This has led Pure Storage to develop a new business model that changes the way customers purchase and maintain enterprise storage.
Called ForeverFlash, the program is designed to reduce storage ownership costs over the deployment lifecycle and offer a continual in-place equipment upgrade plan that eliminates storage downtime.
“Our research consistently tells us that maintaining traditional storage infrastructure is a major pain point for IT managers, resulting in additional cost and sometimes risk for the business,” said Simon Robinson, vice president, storage at 451 Research. “Pure Storage has designed the long-term maintenance of its arrays into the product, offering a fresh—and long overdue—alternative to the traditional storage sales model. We believe this approach will be well-received by customers and look forward to seeing how the rest of the industry responds.”
Scott Dietzen, CEO of Pure Storage, admitted that his company sold storage in same manner as many of his competitors.
With ForeverFlash, customers make an initial equipment purchase, then they can optimize storage ownership lifecycle and maintenance and services contracts according to their needs.
The Forever Flash model are two main areas:
•“Fresh Every Upgrade” enables customers who are expanding storage arrays to either add capacity or upgrade controllers to reset their maintenance on the entire array to the then-current first-year rates, typically enabling customers to experience a reduction in the cost/TB of maintenance over time.
•“Free Every Three” enables storage buyers to receive a controller upgrade every three years when they renew their maintenance agreements in years four or seven (an additional two years of maintenance must be purchased at this time to qualify for the controller upgrade). The program also allows customers to pre-buy five years of maintenance, receiving a controller refresh on year three.
Pure Storage also released a Forever Flash business scenario. In this scenario assume an enterprise storage purchase occurs with an equipment cost of $500,000. The common industry practice is to charge an 8-15 per cent plus per-year maintenance fee that steps up over a three- or five-year period. As the array ages the maintenance rates rise, and the customer must choose to either pay ever-increasing maintenance rates, or buy a whole new array, and undergo a complex forklift upgrade to a next generation product, which can take weeks to plan and execute. By contrast, with Pure Storage Forever Flash, a customer could re-base their maintenance and support fees to ‘Year One’ maintenance rates every time they upgrade their controllers or expand capacity. If that customer would rather keep equipment expenditures down, they could instead opt to have their controllers upgraded every three years with the Free Every Three option. There is no equipment upgrade cycle at the end, because the all-flash array controllers can be upgraded non-disruptively and expansion shelves can be added without interrupting availability.
Dietzen added that Forever Flash is a global program available through most Pure Storage channel partners, but participation may vary. Forever Flash creates opportunity for the channel by driving demand generation and account ownership.