Imagine my surprise when Pure announced that they will be retro-fitting a new technology into an array with software that wasn’t originally designed for it.
Pure’s marketing message has always been to deride any storage device that was not ‘Built from the ground up’. To claim that something is inferior if it has been retrofitted to support evolving technology.
There are so many ways that this is clearly inaccurate, but that’s for another post.
Now Pure is dealing with the reality of the market place. Technology changes, and a good company is always adapting, adding, and yes even retrofitting new ways to solve real world problems.
This is a Pure post and is likely to upset a few of the ‘Puritans’, but this is NOT an attack on their technology which I’m sure is good at what it does, or it’s people that clearly enjoy working there, I just want to clear up something so that we can take it for what it is, marketing spin and now just move on. That is their definition of a ‘Legacy Vendor’.
As is the norm in the Data Management business, every few years the media changes. We’ve had many types of disk drives over the last 40+ years with still more coming with the rise of SMR and other new formats. We’ve had many different types of SSD as well. From SLC, MLC, TLC and now QLC starting to make its entrance into the market.
At NetApp, we’ve adapted our platforms. We’ve re-written IO paths in the code to optimise them as the media has changed. We’ve demonstrated that, not only can we adapt very successfully, we can do so whilst delivering outstanding performance, functionality and endurance. And yes, we retrofitted our platforms for Flash.
Pure would have you believe that this is somehow a truly terrible thing and means that the technology can never be as good as an array that was….yes you guessed it…’Built from the ground up’.
Pure has announced they are introducing NVMe into their arrays, which is not a surprise from a technical point of view, it’s a logical progression. It’s something we at NetApp introduced into our latest generation of systems that we recently launched as well.
My surprise is Pure’s now inconsistent claim that maybe being ‘Built from the ground up’ isn’t necessarily the best way to support customers. NVMe isn’t a new type of media, it’s a communications and interface protocol which means significant work has to be done to adapt your storage software to be able to use it. Much like the work that we did to optimise and get the best performance when we introduced SSD into our arrays. And Pure has zero experience retrofitting anything.
So to my Puritanical friends, you created a definition of legacy to throw doubt against any technology that wasn’t originally designed to support something new. Well you have just become your own definition of a ‘Legacy Vendor’.
Personally I feel that associating ‘Legacy’ = ‘crappy’ is to dismiss the credibility gained from many years of delivering technology solutions and the massive wealth of experience that this enables you to build up. The challenge that all vendors face is to ensure that they use this experience to make positive steps forward into the future, to design new technologies, new capabilities, even new business models and on occasion make acquisitions of startups such as ours with SolidFire. This ensures that they keep pace with or exceed what the market demands. When you’re the first to deliver something new then of course you can ride the wave, you can claim ‘Built from the ground up’ and dismiss others as legacy in a somewhat derogatory way. But then time passes, your new thing is no longer a new thing and you start to add capabilities to it that it was never originally intended for. This is your about turn moment!
Embrace your legacy, you can no longer use this as a negative against others. Your new challenge is to show how you can continue to enhance your products and solutions to meet the new requirements that they were never really designed for. You now have a whole new challenge and opportunity ahead of you and I can absolutely guarantee that this is going to be difficult.
We should know. We’ve been doing this for a long time now.
Let the mayhem commence