No Widgets found in the Sidebar

Significant cuts have been made in some areas of IT as a result of the corona pandemic. What about investments in storage equipment?

Charles Giancarlo: Well, that’s interesting. In any case, when it comes to storage, the pandemic has led to increased investment. And this for several reasons, including of course creating an infrastructure so that everyone could work from home. As a result, the requirements have not only changed in companies, but also in telecom companies. And second, companies saw that other companies that had invested more were better prepared and able to reap the rewards. Then they said to themselves, OK, we need to focus more on digital transformation than before. So overall, our business has continued to accelerate, in our 2021/22 fourth quarter, which ended in February, we grew about 40 percent year-over-year.

Did growing cybersecurity risk also play a role in rising revenue?

Giancarlo: Yes, of course this threat has also led to a growing demand for our solutions. After all, our products are high-performance products and because they are expensive, they are bought for the primary workloads. Data backup, on the other hand, is traditionally always done on cheap storage. But our customers realized that the backup itself is not as important as restoring the data. If you have a backup, but the restore takes two days, you will be out of service for a long time and it will be very expensive. The same applies if you make a backup and it is also encrypted by ransomware.

Do your solutions help?

Giancarlo: Yes, not only can our products back up data, we also have something we call Safe Mode so that the content cannot be overwritten. Even ransomware cannot change the stored data, but the recovery is done within an hour because it is a powerful product. So Rapid Recovery, as we call it to differentiate it from backup, is a growing business for us.

Who do you see as a competitor and how is Pure Storage different?

Giancarlo: Our competitors that our sales team encounter on a daily basis are companies like Dell and HP. But we are a very different company from Dell and HPE. We don’t compete on the same level because we look at storage differently: for us, data storage and data management are not commodities, but high-tech. This perspective has a very different effect on the way we market and position ourselves as a company.

For example, we plan to spend about 20 percent of our revenue on research and development this year, while our main competitors invest less than five percent. Less than five percent, and at five percent it’s hard to keep the lights on.

With Pure as a Service, you have designed an interesting concept to bring cloud-like offerings and features to the on-premises data center. Is Storage as a Service an attempt to keep the enterprise hardware business alive for as long as possible, or is there more to it?

Giancarlo: That’s an interesting point of view, but no, we’re following a very simple concept. I think we can all agree that the cloud operating system is preferred by developers. The cloud makes their job easier in two ways: First, a developer can go to the cloud, define the infrastructure they need, and have it deployed in minutes. He or she can define the desired computing power, the desired network, the desired type of data storage and the software and everything is ready. Second, in the cloud, you only pay for what you use. You don’t have to buy a lot of equipment, install it, wire it and end up using just a part of it, but you pay for the whole.

We want to bring these benefits of the cloud into the business, because enterprise IT currently does not offer these possibilities. She has to buy the equipment, install it, the developers have to wait for everything to be ready – and she has to pay for everything in advance.

Okay, so that’s also moving towards the new self-service storage platform Pure Fusion and the database-as-a-service platform Portworx Data Services developed for Kybernetes at the same time – so these solutions are connected.

Giancarlo: Yes, Portworx on the container side and Fusion on the traditional side ie VMware type or bare metal type interfaces.

Another topic: Pure Storage released its first ESG report a few weeks ago. What is it specifically about?

Giancarlo: Well, of course there’s a part about meeting certain regulations, you have to get your CO. to have2-Disclosure of your footprint, showing what you do in terms of diversity, how the workforce is composed and how the company is run. What we are most proud of is our ecological footprint. You should know that for most companies, the products sold have the greatest impact on CO22-Footprint impact. This even applies to software, because software products also consume energy when the customer uses them.

We have always been proud that our products require less space, power and cooling than other storage manufacturers, especially when compared to magnetic storage. In preparing the ESG report, we commissioned an independent auditor to measure the energy consumption of our all-flash products and compare them with products from other manufacturers. We knew we were using less, but only 20 percent, of the competition’s electricity, which basically means we’re using five times less.

Okay, so that’s good for your profit too…

Giancarlo: It’s good for our balance sheet, but also for the environment, especially because we also produce less e-waste thanks to our evergreen model.

What is this about?

Giancarlo: The Evergreen model is one of the things we are most known for. It is typical of the hardware business that after five to six years you have to throw it out and replace it with a new device. When it comes to data storage, it also means transferring all the data from the old devices to the new ones. This usually requires both devices to run in parallel for a few weeks or months to move the data, only then can you remove the old device. For the customer this means: I bought these devices and now I have to buy them all again.

This is different with us: we sell a product once, then there is a subscription, but the product is never completely exchanged.

So it’s kind of a subscription model…

Giancarlo: More than that: We replace little by little over the years. As a result, a product we sold ten years ago today looks like a product we sold last week. It is constantly updated and we never force the customer to shut down their application environment. The process is also not that disruptive, so that the customer can continue to work undisturbed, which is very important.

It is also cheaper for the customer over the years because he does not have to buy the same device every time. This means less e-waste because firstly, we replace the individual parts instead of the entire device. Second, we recycle devices when we take them back into our Pure-as-a-Service program. When they reach the end of their life, we have a recycling program to recycle the precious metals and other valuable components.

How big is this subscription activity at Pure Storage now?

Giancarlo: It accounts for a third of our sales, almost all customers also subscribed to Evergreen, so we keep updating the product. But you can also use a pure-as-a-service model, where we own the product and keep it up to date, but it stays with you and you only pay for what you would use in the cloud.

many menageTurn right think the easiest way to meet carbon targets is to go to the cloud because then someone else will do it i.eWhy kcares. Similar to Security.

Giancarlo: Well, it’s an interesting model. It remains to be seen if the cloud is really more efficient from an energy standpoint than doing it yourself. I don’t think anyone has ever measured it, but there’s still a lot of hard drive work in the cloud. They are almost all hard drives, which consume a lot of energy. Also, there are many computers in the cloud that are idle and consuming power even though they are not being used. Ultimately, it is always better to use less energy, whether that be from solar panels or buying carbon credits.

But you haven’t yet launched a survey comparing your solutions to cloud solutions.

Giancarlo: No, but that’s a very good idea.

What will happen in storage over the next two to five years?

Giancarlo: Well, there are several things: I think in the next five years you will see how flash really grows compared to magnetic storage. Part of the reason for this is the smaller footprint and much better energy efficiency: when I mentioned earlier the five times better energy efficiency, that was compared to all other flash drives. Compared to magnetic disks, we use less than ten percent of the energy because magnetic disks are very wasteful.

Does price also play a role when switching from hard disk to flash memory?

Giancarlo: Yes, when it comes to replacing magnetic drives, you have to differentiate. Flash has already replaced the top level where very high performance is required. But there is still this large mid-level, where hard drives are still used for the most part. We made the first product to compete in this intermediate level about two years ago. And it is growing very strongly, but the penetration has only just begun.