Storage News

Pure Storage, Cisco to Improve Infrastructure Data Storage

Pure Storage and Cisco announce multi-product collaboration to improve infrastructure data storage, making organizations receptive to virtualization.

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

Pure Storage has announced their expanded collaboration with Cisco to improve their FlashStack Converged Infrastructure Solution allowing data centers to better support large-scale virtual desktop deployments.

SSA for healthcare data stroage

Pure Storage chose Cisco as a partner to enhance their focus on business-critical applications and structured workloads, based on the need for service providers to simplify IT solutions by consolidating and collaborating to produce the best solutions possible.

“Cisco is pleased to collaborate with Pure Storage to deliver FlashStack solutions that enable digital enterprise IT with an integrated high-performance data center infrastructure solution,” said Satinder Sethi, VP, Data Center and Cloud Solutions at Cisco.

FlashStack is a solid-state array (SSA) which is a shared storage device that uses solid-state drives to store data. An SSA is shared by multiple physical hosts and accessed via a shared network. Unlike traditional drives, Solid-state drives have no spinning disks, run silently, boot up quickly, and are resistant to physical strain such as being dropped or an earthquake.

Cisco’s software layer provides functional services such as compression, high availability, snapshots, thin provisioning, scale-out, replication, and deduplication. Cisco’s software runs on multiple Pure Storage devices which manage shelves of SSDs where data is stored.

A number of products were recently released under the Pure Storage and Cisco collaboration including:

  • FlashStack Converged Infrastructure
  • Cisco Validated Design for FlashStack with VMware Horizon
  • Cisco Validated Design on FlashStack Data Center for Oracle Database 12c

FlashStack supports enterprise virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) using Cisco Validated Design for deployments up to 5,000 seats. FlashStack works to maintain low latency as virtual desktop users grow without performance degradation.

"To reduce costs across our eight data centers, we decided to deploy FlashStack with VDI," said John Henderson, Assistant Vice President at Texas Children's Hospital. "In our first phase roll-out to over 1,000 clinicians, not only did we achieve our financial goals, clinician adoption, satisfaction, and efficiency increased as well. Having the Cisco Validated Design in place provides us with additional confidence as we look to expand our solution in the next several months."

The healthcare industry is a growing vertical for SSA technology. Healthcare organization’s growing interest in virtualization calls for virtualization-friendly data storage methods such as solid-state array.

The SSA market is not large today due to cloud, hybrid and legacy storage solutions still taking president. However, Gartner released a market overview this year predicting growth for SSAs in the coming years:

  • By 2020, 50% of data centers will use only SSAs for primary data, instead of hybrid arrays, up from less than 1% today.
  • By 2021, 50% of data centers will use SSAs for high-performance computing and big data workloads, up from less than 1% today.

Gartner cites that SSA deployment has been slow so far due to network latency claiming that “ethernet-based networks and related storage protocols struggle to keep up.”

Vendor consolidation similar Pure Storage and Cisco is common among SSA vendors. Gartner notes that Cisco has previously discontinued its SSA solution in favor of collaboration. Vendors often acquire each other as well, with noted acquisitions including include Dell acquiring EMC, Pivot3 acquiring Nexgen, and NetApp acquiring SolidFire.

Pure Storage and Cisco continue to collaborate on FlashStack in their support for their joint channel partner ecosystem. Pure Storage and Cisco are focused on business-critical applications and structured workloads for the FlashArray product line, and unstructured workloads, including containers and microservices, with FlashBlade.  

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