back to article Pure unsheathes the FlashBlade, cuts out NetApp legacy system

A 24-rack NetApp system has been replaced with a single Pure Storage FlashBlade product at a customer site. Two Pure Storage staffers have tweeted that the replaced system spanned 1,008 rack units, was fitted with 13,000 disk drives. A Pure Storage source said that the replaced system was from NetApp. FlashBlade is Pure's …

  1. K

    Am I mis-reading this?

    "1,008 rack units, was fitted with 1,300 disk drives"

    So 1008 rack units, assuming they were mounted in standard 48u racks, this would amount to 21 seperate racks.. In addition if there were only 1300 drives, that would be less 2 drives were unit..

    WTF were they running, 5.25 drives from the 80's???

    1. Broooooose

      Re: Am I mis-reading this?

      Typo - it was 13,000 disks

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Re: Am I mis-reading this?

        Thanks - article tweaked.


  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They explicitly said 24 racks.

    "standard 48u racks"? NTAP has never sold 48U racks, they've been 42U for a long time and it was not uncommon for clients to install to their own racks (which were sometimes 38U). 1008U / 42U = 24 racks, so they were probably NTAP racks.

    The MK14 shelves were 3Ux14d, which were generally replaced by 4Ux24d shelves. They could have had both. So, somewhere between 219-279U were used for disk drives. The larger controllers were often 6U ea (12U/pair), midrange were 3U ea (6U/pair). We don't know how many controllers they had, but if it were a 24node C-mode setup (which I doubt)), they could have had 144U for just the controllers.

    That leaves +400U for switches and deadspace. So Pure replaced a lot of half-empty NTAP racks. There was probably a lot of related IT transformation/refresh activity going on in concert with the Pure deployment, this was not a simple competitive swap-out.

    1. K
      Thumb Up

      Re: _

      Just realised, I meant 42u, doh!

      Thumbs up :) thanks for the breakdown..

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    annualized revenue run rate

    What does that even mean?

    If the $1B was a true sales figure it would be "we sold $1B of flash array last year"

    It sounds to me like "we had a good week last month, if we multiply that by 52 we get a big but completely bogus number that we can shout about"

    NetApp becoming a member of the Fake News movement?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Vendor replaces 10 year old storage system with a new more efficient one!

    Where's the news in this claim?

    Flash is much faster than disk, Flash is much denser than disk and so are the shelves!

    The vendor also claims zero wires! Looks like they've introduced the 1st wireless storage array. Now that's new and exciting but given who makes these claims, it's not believable...just in case you haven't figured that out yet...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: NewsFlash!

      And it draws energy from the ambient temperature differences in the data center or has built in fusion reactor, or maybe a nuclear battery..

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    doing some math

    Just like the Anonymus Coward pointed out, it's 15 x 52 TB RAW for the Flash Array per 4U Enclosure.

    These 780 TB RAW can be de-duplicated to get even more out of them. Let's take a very modest 3:1 factor putting us at 2.3 PB usable capacity.

    For the NeatApp this would result in 1300 1.8 TB disks, which sounds reasonable, but I haven't factored

    in the 30% RAID loss yet. But in this case we are talking either about a fairly new array of 2TB+ 2.5" SAS disks or 3.5" SATA disks.

    1. RollTide14

      Re: doing some math

      Great job on the math! Everyone knows Pure has 100% Raw to Usable ratios (which you so graciously pointed out).

      But now we definitely need to factor in a 30% raid hit for NetApp and they dont have ANY efficiencies on their boxes.

      I pray you are not in Sales. If you're going to troll, please try and not make it so obvious.

      1. FDavids

        Re: doing some math

        What do you mean by "But now we definitely need to factor in a 30% raid hit for NetApp and they don't have ANY efficiencies on their boxes" NetApp has inline compression plus dedupe, plus post write compression. How is that "don't have any effecencies"?

        1. RollTide14

          Re: doing some math

          Sarcasm doesnt always translate over text....

  6. Chris Mellor 1

    I tried to get more data from Pure Storage and failed; customer not ready to talk. Can't see a like for like substitution here. Resigned myself to waiting for more info to come while thinking/judging that there was something real here if Pre Storage tweeters were getting that excited about it, even allowing for in-house Kool-Aid drinking. Hope that was a good call.

  7. bitpushr

    How do you get to 1,000 cables?

    Assuming 1,300 disks and our least-dense shelves which we haven't sold for a few years now, i.e. the DS14 shelf (14 disks in 3RU), you'd need 92 shelves. Each shelf has two power cables, so that's 92*2 = 184 cables. Each shelf has four FCAL cables, so that's 92*4 = 368 cables.

    Add that together and you get 552 cables. Where are the other 500?

    Disclaimer: NetApp employee

  8. dpk

    We'll tweet publicly that we swapped out some storage (again) but we can't/won't tell you who it is when asked. Yap Yap Yap Yap Yap Yap.

    And it's NFS only, where the multi-protocol NetApp device with all the enterprise features you need, is "legacy", insert *eye-roll emoji

    A single protocol, object platform #beastmode lolz

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NewsFlash #2

    FlashBlade DOES NOT deduplicate. Only compression is available therefore the 3:1 assumption is rather ambitious.

  10. Nate Amsden

    reminds me of an old 3par slide

    Long before the days of flash, I think this was probably 2005 or 2006 time frame

    The comparison was for 208TB usable with 86,000 IOPS at 20ms latency. The claim was 13 clustered NetApps in 21 cabinets vs 1 3PAR in 4 cabinets.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: reminds me of an old NetApp slide

      Not so long ago Netapp would show prospective customers slides where a 2 RU AFF replaced a few cabinets of EMC spinning rust. Whoop De Doo.

      I'm not saying that Storage and Data Management marketing has ever been exciting, but this twitter based PR is really boring me to death.

      And then you have those "Interviews" where Evangelists or Storage Tsars are doing a free infomercials on the register. That's one step away from selling funeral insurance on TV.

      Whoever came up with "Tsar" ??? How about snake oil sales men ???

      Unlike any other IT discipline - the storage industry is profiteering from deliberately confusing customers....

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The other point here is that yet again NetApp has lost a cash cow. Doubtless they were shipping shelves regularly and doubtless they were charging exorbitant support fees for all this gear. NetApp seem unable to halt the slide.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Puritain mon vieux

    Q from Star Trek would say, "Au contraire, mon puritain" :)

  14. FG2020

    This is an odd comparison in the article. First of all, quick math on 13,000 drives and 1.5PB says the existing Netapp system was probably using the 144gb drives. This system was old -- it wasn't a 6200, it was probably a 6000, definitely legacy ontap, two node. You can't even properly source 144gb spares (for a couple years now..). This probably a smoking system when it was sold though.

    In terms of density, you can do 1.5PB usable (assuming a modest 2x total efficiency over raw) in something like 45 16T disks. That's 4U, plus the controllers. Is it as pretty as the flashblade? No. Also not proprietary media. In terms of I/O, you can certainly span more than one controller with NAS. There are several ways to do it. Granted, you may want some extra controllers for more I/O. Like... two. For an extra 6U.

    It would have been nice if the Netapp phonecallguy had say something more than "we have revenue." I would also be nice to know what current Netapp the Flashblade went up against.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Comparing Storage Tech from 10 Years Ago Now?

    These sort or articles are so silly. Pure got a win, good for them. They took out a storage platform that was 10 years old. Congrats. That storage platform from 10 years ago still has features that don't even exist on Pure's FlashBlade (CIFS, Snapshots, Replication, Deduplication). Don't get me wrong, Pure has a nice product in the FlashBlade, but it's VERY 1.0 and not mature at all. Let's compare apples to apples in current gen platforms. NetApp just released the A700s platform this week. It's a 4U chassis (same as the FlashBlade) - currently supports 24x15.3TB SSDs (soon to be 24x32TB SSDs) - has multi-protocol (CIFS,NFS,FC,ISCSI) can do dedupe+compression, can be clustered, is cloud enabled, has snapshots and replication, and oh yeah, it can be clustered to produce millions of IOPs and many PBs of scale. NetApp has fixed all the metadata issues and scale issues with "FlexGroups." If you don't know what this is, you should. Yes the FlashBlade is "simple" but it only does one thing. A sharp knife is simple, but it won't turn screws if you need it to.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    They replaced probably a 5 year old system containing no flash with a full flash system and it's faster............go figure.

    1. TheLip

      Re: Wow!!

      I think the big thing here is not what or how old the Netapp system was but they replaced it with a non Netapp system. That's a sale that was lost worth some bucks now and in the future.

  17. FDavids

    Oooh, Pure replaced an old NetApp box

    I replaced two old Pure boxes at two separate customers with NetApp recently. Can you write a big article about those also? AKA One sparrow doesn't make it Spring.

  18. TheLip

    "Remind your readers that NetApp's all-flash array business is exceeding $1bn in annualized revenue..."

    typical marketing, So basically yes it was us and no we can't match that.

  19. fredesmite

    so 1000 - 12k rpm drives were replaced

    let me guess - 5 inch 12k rpm 1G drives from 2006 era

  20. Storageguy61

    Just took out 4 racks of EMC....

    NetApp guy here..

    just took out 4 racks of 5 year old EMC storage with 16ru of NetApp flash.

    yup.. its smaller and faster.. wow!

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