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Pure Storage combines FlashBlade with Portworx PX-Backup

Pure Storage's joint product with Portworx gives customers a way to quickly recover container applications in case of failures by combining flash storage and PX-Backup.

Customers can now get Kubernetes data protection on a Pure Storage appliance.

Pure Storage has released a FlashBlade appliance integrated with Portworx PX-Backup, its first joint product since acquiring Portworx six months ago. Pure FlashBlade has a feature called Rapid Restore, which enables a claimed 270 TB per hour data recovery speed. Combined with the container-level backup capabilities of PX-Backup, customers have a way to quickly recover their containerized workloads in case of outages.

The FlashBlade-PX-Backup combo has been tested and certified for three key data protection use cases. Customers running Kubernetes databases on any on-premises storage infrastructure can use the FlashBlade appliance as the backup target, with PX-Backup serving as the backup manager.

In a second use case, application backups on the FlashBlade appliance can be sent via PX-Backup to any S3-compatible cloud target for recovery in the cloud. Lastly, PX-Backup can continually sync two FlashBlade appliances at two different data centers for immediate failover.

There is growing demand for Kubernetes data protection coinciding with general Kubernetes adoption, but most businesses don't know how to protect their containerized applications, said Michael Ferranti, senior director of product marketing for Portworx at Pure Storage. Some 75% of customers wrongly believe they can back up containers the same way as their other applications, according to data from IDC. Customers need to realize they need something more granular than VM-level snapshots to reliably restore Kubernetes applications in production, Ferranti said.

"Over the last year, a thousand Kubernetes flowers have bloomed. Customers are now trying to figure out how to protect these Kubernetes applications they're running in production," Ferranti said.

It was possible for customers to install PX-Backup on Pure FlashBlade appliances before the acquisition and before the release of this joint product. This release brings mapped-out configurations, documentation and support to help ensure the two products work together in customers' environments.

Finding a niche

Pure Storage differentiates itself from other storage hardware vendors such as Dell EMC, IBM and Hewlett Packard Enterprise by focusing on flash and performance. Portworx most directly competes with other Kubernetes-native vendors such as Kasten and Trilio.

Pure's integration with Portworx in this release is relatively shallow, but it's an expected first step, said Steve McDowell, senior technology analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. Eventually, Pure Storage will want PX-Backup to be manageable from its Pure1 storage management platform, but the first step is to make sure the two products can talk to each other.

Over the last year, a thousand Kubernetes flowers have bloomed. Customers are now trying to figure out how to protect these Kubernetes applications they're running in production.
Michael FerrantiSenior director of product marketing for Portworx, Pure Storage

"You have to crawl, walk, run with these things. It's a good first step, and I fully expect over time, we'll see tighter integration," McDowell said.

Containers require a different way of thinking when it comes to how to administer storage and data protection, McDowell said. Organizations are working out whether the responsibility and control of Kubernetes data rests with DevOps or IT. Kubernetes adoption has grown over the past five years, but it's still in its early days -- too early for any universal best practices to be established, McDowell added.

Portworx is marketed toward Kubernetes architects, developers and engineers, Ferranti said. It's aimed at the Kubernetes developer who doesn't want to file a ticket with IT to provision storage for the apps they're working on.

Ultimately, it will be the storage administrators who are responsible for Kubernetes data, McDowell believes. However, the Kubernetes architects and engineers -- the people who work most closely with Kubernetes -- are responsible for guiding storage admins.

"Kubernetes architects are the guys that need to push the storage admins and make sure they understand where the container-based workloads may be different," McDowell said.

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