We caught up with Ben Savage, head of all channel and alliance relationships across EMEA at Pure Storage, to find out why the businesses offers free software and updates, how its new flash array uses less power than a toaster oven, and why the data centre is changing.
What does Pure Storage do?
We are a storage company that produces all flash arrays. We’ve been in business since 2009 and we’re currently a private company with investor backing. We are 100 per cent channel focused, so everything we do is through the channel – we don’t have any direct business whatsoever. We operate globally across North America, South America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific.
Can you tell us about Pure’s plans to focus more on the channel?
Our business in EMEA has been going for about two years and this year we instigated a programme for the channel called P3.
It’s a classic tier programme for the channel with a silver, gold and platinum status for our partners based on revenue throughput that they deliver back to Pure, plus investment they want to make in terms of their people. They can move up through the ranks and the higher the tier they go the more investment we put back in them in terms of incentives, training and education.
Do you work with public sector businesses?
At the moment we’re identifying partners that will take us in to the public sector. One of the things we’re spending a lot of time focusing on is where our products are going to be most suitable in the market.
We’re looking to target the public sector through partners and their framework agreements that that have with those public sector organisations.
We’re focused around use case, and certain industries will be typical of those use cases. The main ones will be VSI (virtual server infrastructure) and any kind of database heavy applications like ERP, CRM and business analytics – flash storage will be very beneficial to them.
What products are selling well at the moment?
The nice thing about our product range is that it’s very simple, all of our products are all flash – that’s our strategy. We believe that the way technology is evolving and the software that we produce will allow flash to become the dominate storage platform in the data centre.
At the moment it’s very much tier 0 and tier 1, but we believe that within a given time frame it will start going into tier 3.
We just launched a new product range and we’re looking forward to seeing how well it does. It’s called the FlashArray//m series. They are in m20, m50 and m70 products and the configuration can vary quite dramatically. They use less power than a toaster oven and can connect with just six cables.
Pure recently launched a new set of tools, training and support. Can you tell us more about this?
We have a number of tools that our partners can utilise. We have product training for sales and pre-sales, but also if they want to become support partners of ours we have quite an extensive capability that means we’re able to train them up on support services.
We understand that with many of our partners, that’s where they want to start taking ownership.
We do have an ASP programme that allows them to take level 1 and level 2 calls from our customers in certain regions. We provide training in regions and online.
The other area that we’re spending a lot of time in training at the moment is business value selling in the channel. Selling flash now is very different to selling storage in the past. We have some offerings now that are very disrupting in the market. For example all of our software and updates are included for the lifetime of the array, so the customer never has to pay for software or updates. As long as they pay their maintenance to our partner, we provide this service to them for free.
How do you see the storage market evolving in the near future?
We believe with the cost of flash coming down we’re convinced that the data centre will move to all flash.
Customers are fed up with the big upgrade every four years that the traditional vendors have been putting in place. What we want our customers to benefit from is much more simple storage products. They need to make sure they’re getting value for money for their storage, and flash is now able to provide that value for money, particularly with the commercial models that we have of evergreen storage – it’s just about maximising your storage array through it’s lifetime.
What’s next for Pure?
We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing. The storage market is huge and there’s a lot of potential to grow. There’s a lot for us to do in the flash storage market, so our intention is to continue to grow and continue to help customers see the benefits of flash storage.