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PureStorage FlashArray – Product Brief

Last updated March 1, 2022 to fix incorrect information. Concise and unbiased 6-page overview of the features and functionality of Pure Storage FlashArray. Product Brief includes EvaluScale Reviewing Methodology. Download the free Product Brief now!

Overview

Pure Storage FlashArray systems are all solid-state systems, providing NVMeoF-RoCE (called DirectFlash Fabric), FC, and iSCSI block storage access and file access with SMB and NFS. All data is both deduplicated and compressed prior to being written. Pure Storage claims there is no performance penalty for deduplicating and compressing data in-line, which enables an effective capacity ranging between 73 TB and 3.3 PB for their //X products, up to 5.5 PB for //XL models and up to 7.3 PB for their //C systems.

With FlashArray //X, Pure Storage updated their second generation //m systems that continue to utilize purpose-built controller hardware and a custom NVRAM module. The system has dual controllers with either SAS attached SSDs or DirectFlash modules internal to the controllers attached via PCIe and add-on device enclosures using NVMeoF-RoCE for attach. In 2019, Pure Storage introduced the FlashArray//C system as a high capacity flash array utilizing QLC flash. In late 2021, Pure introduced //XL models, XL130 and XL170, with improved performance and capacity as a scaled up alternative to //X systems.

Evaluator Group Comment: Pure Storage marketing calls the controllers “active/active” but they are really active/passive in that both controllers cannot be actively transferring data between devices and hosts. The “expanded” definition of active/active used is because the standby controller keeps the host bus adapters active and allows selections to pass to the other controllers.

The FlashArray //X is an update of the controller hardware and utilizes NVMe protocol and PCIe interfaces for custom designed flash modules called DirectFlash. DirectFlash can replace the use of standard SSDs in FlashArray //X, FlashArray //C, and previous//m systems are upgradable according to the guarantee made in the fall of 2016. Pure Storage claims a 4x performance improvement with the use of NVMe DirectFlash modules vs SSDs. The //X70 and //X90 can utilize a further performance increase by using Pure Storage’s DirectMemory cache. DirectMemory offers Optane SCM modules that can be used for read caching. //XL models additionally utilize a DirectMemory cache and Direct Flash Modules with distributed NVRAM. The distributed NVRAM is implemented with SLC Flash on the modules used to store volatile data temporarily.

Use of NVRAM accelerates write performance by allowing the system to acknowledge a write and then coalesce data before storing it across solid-state drive modules. For the //X systems, NVRAM is connected using PCIe. //XL models feature additional PCIe slots with 9 per controller.

PureStorage FlashArray Product Brief Includes:

Overview
Highlights
Usage
Evaluator Group Opinion

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