The Puritans Of Storage

Pure Storage [NYSE:PSTG] priced at $17,  above their proposed price range $14-16 price range. It’s clear they have a great story and management team with revenue growth numbers that speak volumes, at scale. After doing $6M in 2013 we see them doing about $175M this year. It’s a rocket ship on the top line.

Those of you familiar with the storage market may be wondering what’s so special about Pure. After all some of their predecessors like Fusion-io (FIO now part of SNDK), Nimble Storage (NYSE: NMBL) and Violin Memory (NYSE: VMEM) have been a mixed bag. There are also quite a few large players in the storage market like EMC that have their own storage software and subsystems that include FLASH-based storage.

The roots of Pure’s advantage are in their storage software and some key design decisions they made in building their solution. We’d boil it down to 1) the ability to use any FLASH technology, especially consumer and 2) the ability to run different workloads against the same data. (We will elaborate.) There are also some benefits like de-duplication that come along with the package.

By doing this Pure is able to offer customers the higher performance of FLASH at the same cost as traditional disk. Customers find it irresistible. To quote the roadshow “for every dollar our top 25 customers spend they spend an additional $8 over the next 18 months.” We’re at an inflection point for FLASH storage where the costs dip below disk for the first time and they keep going! (see chart from wikibon) It’s for this reason that most industry experts expect an “all electronic datacenter” to be a future end-point for most enterprise datacenters.

Hardware isn’t the point though. The magic is all in the software. Storage subsystems have a heritage of extreme complexity that just doesn’t work at “cloud” or “web” scale which is where enterprises know they need to reach.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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