FlashArray: Purity 6 - Pure Storage attacks Unified-Storage with native SMB/NFS File Services

[ NOTE: machine translation with the help of DeepL translator without additional proofreading and spell checking ]


The Corona pandemic unfortunately made plans for another visit to the USA at this year's Pure Accelerate impossible. Due to the circumstances created by the pandemic, manufacturers were forced to hold their in-house shows digitally. On June 10 (as was the case last year), the time had come...the digital format of Accelerate - the Pure Accelerate Digital - kicked off at 5 p.m. German time.


Pure actually managed to map the visitor experience similar to live on-site despite the "digital distance". There were besides the keynote sessions as usual the breakout sessions and the possibility to interact and exchange with the experts directly in chats.


In this blog, I would like to briefly review the essential new features / "biggest" announcements of FlashArray and its operating system. More detailed information about the individual features and other innovations in the portfolio of Pure Storage will follow in further posts the next weeks.


Purity 6 is officially GA.


New features


FlashArray File Services


With Purity 6, you can now consolidate block and file workloads on FlashArray your primary storage and natively use file protocols such as SMB and NFS. So FlashArray now becomes viable NAS storage for user-facing workloads. A great move to attack the unified storage market...personally I think a feature that will further worry the "competitors" and keep Pure Storage market share growing! This protocol stack was really eagerly awaited by especially European customers.


A large number of enterprises today run Windows virtual file servers or used native NAS storage on their storage systems from the past. They expressed the desire to continue to consolidate file workloads on their Pure Storage natively so they could get their NAS services from the storage. This was not possible with Purity 5 - I've had conversations here in the past about the pros & cons of native storage file services and unfortunately you couldn't convince everyone of this. That's why I'm all the more pleased.

To realize this wish, Pure Storage took over Compuverde last year with the clear goal of integrating the NAS stack natively into Purity (not to take it over!).

It should be clearly noted here that an integration of Compuverde was made and not a 1:1 transfer of the Compuverde product to Purity. This step was absolutely necessary in order to apply the proven implemented functions such as RAID-3D and global deduplication to this workload type.

The SMB and NFS protocols give the possibility of consolidated storage of all corporate data in Purity//FA. Purity Files also brings features such as directory snapshots and directory-level performance and storage monitoring.


By integrating the two file protocols into the existing Purity stack, users also benefit from global deduplication and

compression for both file and block in a single shared storage pool.


Naturally, full integration into the operating system has been achieved: the file services have been natively integrated into the GUI, CLI and REST API from the very first release (Purity 6.0).


Managed Directories


The root of a file system is always a managed directory with Purity. You can create additional managed directories immediately below the first (root) managed directory.


Purity 6.0 initially supports up to 500 Managed Directories per array.


To NAS clients, a Managed Directory looks like any other directory, but unlike ordinary directories, Managed Directories:

- Display the directory in the GUI, CLI, and REST API.

- Monitor performance and storage (latency, data reduction, etc.).

- Apply export or snapshot policies.


You cannot convert an ordinary directory into a managed directory. So, it is even more important to plan in advance the structure of the NAS filer before migrating data.


Example 1:

In this case, the root of the file system is the only managed directory.

You can monitor performance and storage at this level and no other, and give the export of the entire file system to the NAS clients.

Example 2:

Another example would be to create a managed directory for each user.

You export the home directories separately, possibly with

different export options or permissions. You could also export the full root directory of the file system. This allows you to view performance and disk space for each home directory as well as for the entire directory.

Example 3:

The third example (certainly the most common in practice) is to create managed directories for different purposes: Department, Project, and User directories.

Below these managed directories you then create your ordinary directories for each user (e.g. /home/jon). You cannot share the home directories separately. Instead, export /home for all users and let file and directory permissions within the file system decide who gets access to what. You can thus monitor the performance and memory usage of the root and its underlying managed directories.


ActiveDR


ActiveDR delivers continuous active replication, a near-zero recovery point (RPO), and other options of simple disaster recovery (DR) with Purity 6. ActiveDR geo-redundantly protects your application data, minimizing data loss and recovery time in case of failures.

The focus of ActiveDR was to simplify DR workflows and protect application data continuously. Workflows such as test failover, unplanned failover, resync, and failback can be easily performed at any time. Testing failover requires no interruption to replication.

With ActiveDR, you can protect a wide variety of applications with a customized replication strategy.


Continuous replication with ActiveDR provides much lower RPOs than traditional array-based replication, which performs periodic snapshot differentiation (mostly snapshot transfers every > 5/10/15 minutes) to replicate data.

ActiveDR records an incoming write IO at the source FlashArray, applies data reduction and continuously replicates data to the target FlashArray, this provides an extremely low RPO. A very low RPO means you can failover (planned or unplanned) to a disaster recovery site with minimal data loss.

Pure developed ActiveDR with the clear prioritization of front-end performance to ensure that latency-sensitive applications are not impacted by replication.

ActiveDR replication is asynchronous, which means it does not require the replication target array to acknowledge the application write to the source (the host). As a result, ActiveDR has no impact on application latency. Since ActiveDR does not specify any network latency, you can use your existing network infrastructures between the arrays.


With single-command failover and intelligent failback, ActiveDR is easy to deploy, test, and manage.


ActiveDR Key-Facts

  • Minimal RPO: continuous transfer of writes between FlashArrays - with no performance impact on applications - and the benefit of near-synchronous replication.

  • Active-Passive: creation of non-writable/pre-connected volume replicas on replication target to further accelerate the DR process in case of failure (write access is then granted on failover).

  • Fast failover: failover volumes with one command.

  • Uncompromised failover tests: failover tests can be performed at any time without interrupting replication.

  • No limitations: supports replication to almost any distance/latency and does not impact front-end performance.

  • No licenses: with Pure Storage, you pay no licensing fees or individual software features. A purity/software upgrade is all that is required to use ActiveDR.

With ActiveDR, Pure Storage extends the data high availability options and gives a near-synchronous alternative for large geo-redundancies, in addition to ActiveCluster (synchronous mirror-with transparent failover). The available replication options with Purity can be represented as follows:

CloudSnap to AWS, Azure Blob is GA

More info - Links


All officially published setting options in the GUI but also CLI can be read via the "on-board" user guides of the Pure Storage systems.


Click on "Help" in the Purity main menu.


The User Guide is structured like the main menu and can be opened downwards. A search function is also integrated - within here you can also search for keywords.

WEB: Pure Storage (Pure1) support portal - Ticket system and support *(requires registered FlashSystems)

PHONE: Pure Storage phone support: GER - (+49) (0)800 7239467; INTERNATIONAL - (+1) 650 7294088

WEB: Pure Storage community

WEB: Pure Storage OFFICIAL blog

The blog lives from your questions, wishes and suggestions...every comment is welcome. I am very grateful for feedback.

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