PureStorage this week introduced two products that continue its mission of delivering solutions that span on-premise and the cloud. The first, ObjectEngine, is a flash-based object storage solution that can achieve very high storage densities. The second, DirectFlash Fabric, adds support for NVMe-oF RoCE, which helps improve real-time access.
ObjectEngine is the industry’s first flash-based object storage solution, combining on-premise object storage with cloud-native storage. It accomplished this goal by adding high-performance compression and deduplication technology from StorReduce, which it acquired last year. According to the company, ObjectEngine can deliver 25TB/hour backup performance and 15TB/hour restore performance, and can reduce storage and bandwidth costs by up to 97 percent. It provides near-linear scaling to deliver more than 100 petabyte and 100 terabyte per hour performance in the cloud.
Those numbers are impressive, said Steve McDowell, a senior analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. Because of the way it’s architected, the solution can achieve storage densities much greater than its competitors today in a dedicated object appliance. As an example, McDowell said, Pure Storage can deliver 1PB in one-third of a rack, whereas Dell’s comparable DataDomain solution requires more than three racks for the same storage density.
Storing storage snapshots and archival backups in the cloud is fast becoming the architecture of choice for data protection because it delivers the flexibility to recover data from any site with an internet connection. McDowell said that Amazon’s S3 storage is both more flexible and better performing than traditional tape-based backup solutions. The fact that the data lives in the cloud, and not in the data center, provides protection against site failures.
“What this means from a practical standpoint is that an IT shop can place a very high-performing object storage appliance on-site and then leverage PureStorage’s deduplication technology to efficiently transfer that data to the public cloud, where it is then stored in Amazon S3 buckets. Once it’s in the cloud, an IT administrator has the flexibility to recover that data as needed,” McDowell explained.
PureStorage also announced that it has added DirectFlash fabric capability for end-to-end NVMe and NVMe-oF RoCE support in Purity 5.2, the software-defined engine of its FlashArray//X products. RoCE stands for RDMA over Converged Ethernet, a network protocol that allows remote direct memory access (RDMA) over an Ethernet network.
NVMe-over-fabric provides machine-to-machine interconnect designed specifically for flash storage, delivering throughput and latency characteristics that are on-par with direct-attached storage. Pure is delivering NVMe-over-Ethernet, which allows organizations to use their existing high-speed networks as the connection. While other vendors have announced support for NVMe-over-InfiniBand and NVMe-over-Fibre Channel, Ethernet is a great play that delivers performance and flexibility, McDowell said.
“Block storage today is delivered typically over either Fibre Channel SAN or Ethernet-based iSCSI. This works great for traditional hard-disk-drive-based storage systems, but introduces complexity and overhead that isn’t required in an all-flash environment,” McDowell said. “Just as NVMe is rapidly replacing traditional disk controllers within systems to provide very low-latency, high-throughput access to flash storage within a system, NVMe-over-fabric provides an interconnect between flash arrays that jettisons the overhead of the more traditional solutions.”
While this solution isn’t for every organization today, PureStorage is preparing for a time when it will be. Over time, NVMe-over-Ethernet is expected to become the interconnect of choice for high-performance storage. Fibre Channel-based solutions allow a migration path for those organizations already investing there, or that continue to have a mixed environment, but Ethernet provides the ultimate flexibility.
“It nicely sets the stage for the what will be the future of storage interconnects, while also offering a compelling solution for those who need to deploy direct-attached-like performance in a network-attached storage device,” McDowell said.