EVOLVE User Conference

Disclaimer: I am in my 4th week of being a Puritan (Pure Storage Employee), so while being biased about my new employer, I will attempt to keep this post coolaid free and report on the content from my perspective and not my employers.

After the end of VMworld I was given the opportunity to attend the Pure Storage’s  EVOLVE User Conference.  As you probably know I started with Pure Storage all of 4 weeks ago now so it was a great opportunity to meet with more of the team and get further insights into what Pure is all about.

I first wanted to highlight the style and format of the event, as a VMUG leader I often analyse how companies engage with their audience.  Having previously worked in both customer and integrator spaces, I always compare these perpectives when evaluating the content/value of a conference (it helps me improve the value I provide at the events I organise).  Oh and yes, I do know what it’s like faced with the choice of maintenance renewal costs vs discounted new hardware 🙂

So, I was particularly impressed with the format of this user conference which included: –

Panel Discussion

It’s hard to transcribe the exact conversation between each panel member, but I’ve listed some key topics/terms that were discussed and that I felt were really compelling and of interest:

Q. Would you build your a new startup on the cloud?

  • What about development?
  • Unpredictable workloads may not work on cloud
  • Having your own infrastructure allows you to tune the infrastructure to your specific application needs.

Q. Public/Private to cloud or not – doesn’t matter, its about what applications you use and the architecture they require

Economics decide what you can do – flash has been about compression/deduplication

Q. Is unit of growth storage array or server with local storage?

Internet of things needs parallel storage and compute, lots of it – analytics and big data means an explosion in data growth – where’s it all going to go = room for different types of consumption models.

On demand, self service, automated (that’s what cloud really means), all these things can now be done on premises!

Orgs starting to ‘Cloudify’ their applications.

Decades of research thrown in the trash on spinning disk.


Partner/Pure Sessions

There were 2 tracks for these which were MongoDB and MySQL or Citrix and VMware.  I opted for the Citrix and VMware track naturally as a Virtualisation Architect.  I’ve made the following notes of key discussion points in the presentations (along with some screenshots of key slides).

Citrix and Pure

The clear message from Citrix was that plain and simply Flash enables VDI, I think this is common knowledge, but it is a key consideration for any business looking to implement some kind of desktop/app/mobility virtualisation strategy.


Citrix went on to list some compelling reasons: –

  • Consumerisation of IT (77 billion app download expected in 2014)
  • The very nature of VDI means that you need to be able to manage unpredictable workloads
  • Storage IO patterns ranging from R/W = 80/20 (boot storms) through to R/W = 20/80 (multiple applications creating data)
  • Storage sucks up 41% of all VDI deployment costs
  • Citrix created the ‘Citrix Ready’ program.

Citrix Workspace Suite

  • Windows application security delivery
  • high performance desktop VMs
  • Mobile application/device security
  • Mobile productivity applications
  • On-premises secure data sync/share (someone who knows how to spell on premises, good to see!)
  • Unified App Store.


Citrix’s closing comment was quite powerful (I know this is a Pure event, but still they didn’t have to say this) “..As a business, you must consider the impact best-of-breed flash storage has on overall solution cost and end user experience…”.

VMware and Pure

Next on Stage was VMware, they started off by providing this statement – Virtualisation is Ubiquitous in all businesses.


VMware shared some 2012 stats (I guess that means these could only increase in 2014): –

  • 10 VMs started every minute
  • 6 vMotions per second
  • 68,000 VMware certified professionals in over 146 countries worldwide
  • 20 million VMs.

VMware then went on to highlight how running Business Critical Applications was  gaining significant momentum.


VMware also mentioned they have over 500,000 customers.

The was when Pure revealed their Database as a Service reference architecture which has been completed in conjunction with VMware, Avinash Nayak (who lead this initiative from a Pure perspective) went on to demonstrate provisioning and powering on 50 Oracle databases using vCAC in under 20 minutes (this included provisioning each VM, powering it on and deploying/configuring the application/DB inside each VM).


Customer Led Session

3 customers were interviewed and questioned about: –

  • What their business technology environment consists of
  • What challenge they wanted to solve using all-flash-arrays
  • How Pure Storage helped them solve the problem
  • What the benefit was back to the business (what did success look like).

Open mike with John Colgrove (Coz)


I’m totally amazed with how Coz not only offered the audience an ‘open the kimono’ style session, but also the way he passionately challenges his audience to ask him ANY question, invariably there is no question too tough for Coz, this guy is really something, not only technical but also able to articulate clearly what Pure’s values are and what the company stands for around product simplicity and availability, well he is the founder of the company that’s for sure!

The one takeaway from this session (for me anyway) about Coz wanting to use the ‘crappiest consumer grade flash possible’ in Pure’s FlashArray and let our software control the integrity and availability of the data, not the hardware, ultimately this will reduce the cost of flash and provide better economic value to our customers.  This is a direct result of NAND manufacturers (being driven by the consumer market) wanting to make more, cheaper flash for consumer devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones etc).

Final Word

Unfortunately I had to cut it off there as it was time to get to the airport and finish my VMworld trip, but what a great way to end my week at VMworld.

I also had the chance to talk with some of the product management team about some of the new VMware storage integration features Pure are working on (namely vVols and SRM), which I’ll be blogging more about over the coming weeks, thanks for reading and stay tuned 🙂

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