Adam Bonny, Natilik CTO
What were the driving factors for refreshing Natilik’s Data Centre?
The Data Centre refresh came as part of an overall full tech stack refresh across Natilik as we started focusing on migrating to the cloud and supporting our hybrid cloud workloads and environments. We know that storage of the data is one of the most, if not the most, important component in the Data Centre. And we wanted to get it right and invest in the best solution, along with a vendor that can support our migration to the cloud as this is a key strategic focus for the company, and we needed an approach that will be appropriate and scalable to last for at least the next five years.
Talk us through why you choose Pure Storage and any hesitations you had and how you are finding it a year on.
Through Natilik and other organisations I have worked at, I have used a range of Data Centre partners and storage providers, Dell EMC, HP EVA, NetApp to name a few, however, this was the first time I’ve had exposure to Pure Storage. I had heard amazing feedback from our clients and had talked extensively with the Pure and Natilik teams, but I am not going to lie, at first the price tag was something that needed consideration, but I certainly understand the value today and I must say, they are worth every single penny.
Also, I must admit, I was initially a little sceptical around the exceptional deduplication ratio they were promising. It was working out that after the sizing exercise, the flash array they proposed was smaller than the one we were replacing! Pure were promising a 6:1 data reduction ratio and were so confident that they said if their sizing was incorrect and we didn’t achieve that, they would foot the bill for any additional capacity required. You can’t argue with that, right?! And, I have to admit we aren’t getting 6:1, we are getting 9:1 and higher! I have been consistently impressed, it is just incredible, no matter what I throw at it, and we have thrown a lot this past year, it still maintains that exceptional rate.
The in-line encryption just works, every time, flawlessly, and the active cluster and de-duping do exactly what they say on the tin, you don’t need a degree in rocket science to get the best out of the solution. We wanted to make sure we had the best performance and Pure Storage really do deliver.
Any advice to peers looking to go on the same journey?
When people migrate to the cloud, a common pitfall they often come across is forgetting to think about storage. And they often use tools suggested by AWS and such like, which can be terribly unwieldly and expensive, but having a vendor like Pure Storage, who can seamlessly take you on that journey from on prem to cloud data storage is really appealing. Pure have the same software for both cloud and on prem so as we migrate, we will maintain the same functionality, same integrity and same support and vendor relationship as we go. The benefits of this should not be underestimated. They say it is ‘cloud-like’ in its ease of use and they were not lying, it is true.
One thing we learned and are implementing retrospectively now, is to take advantage of Pure Storage’s Evergreen model. This is the constant refresh of the flash arrays and knowing your kit will never reach ‘end of life’. It does come at a cost and initially we opted out, but it is something now having been consistently impressed time and time again we are adding on. We have one legacy flash storage unit from another vendor that needs to be replaced this year, however, the support costs have gone through the roof, not to mention the painful process of replacing it and moving everything across. It just reminds me of the unique benefit the evergreen model gives, so you can guess which storage solution I will be replacing it with.
Also, if you are deciding to do a traditional data centre refresh now, it means you have decided you aren’t ready to move to the cloud yet, but making sure you choose a vendor that can take you on that journey with ease is probably the best bit of advice I can give. Pure Storage give us a clear path to a hybrid cloud model with consistent support and we have continued to grow our global Pure footprint with 6 arrays across the whole of Natilik, and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.
My final thoughts are, although I was sceptical around the hype and thought it was all ‘too good to be true’ it really isn’t, and I can safely say, I will never look back to another vendor, everything is tweaked to perfection and I cannot recommend it enough.