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By | Chris Mellor 30th March 2015 16:03

Pure CEO dons cheerleader outfit, harangues world, dog

Bangs drum, makes song and dance about annual performance

Comment Pure’s chief evangelist officer executive officer, Scott Dietzen, has blown Pure’s trumpet about its 2014 business.

It’s a mighty blast: he has big lungs and he’s cheerleading his now 850-plus staff when he says the all-flash array (AFA) start-up, has:

  • Recruited an additional 500 staff
  • Grown revenue more than 300 per cent from 2013 to 2014, more than its 160 per cent forecast
  • Increased customer base by more than 200 per cent from 2013 to 2014
  • For every $1 customers spend with Pure, they spend an average of $1.20 in the next 12 months, it being a land-and-expand business
  • Pure’s customer satisfaction as measured by NetPromoter Score (NPS) trends 40-50 points higher than those of legacy storage vendors
  • ”Pure has been outpacing the inflation-adjusted growth of some bellwether growth companies, including NetApp and Data Domain in storage, Cisco, Arista and Riverbed in networking, and FireEye and Palo Alto Networks in security”
  • ”Each Pure FlashArray eliminates more than one year of cumulative latency every month versus a performance (oxymoron) disk array – that’s just the math for a typical workload on a Tier-1 hybrid array like an EMC VMAX versus all flash”
  • Sold kit in more than 25 countries
  • ”For every 250TB Tier 1 disk array you convert to Pure Storage, we project you will save $500,000 and half storage administrator per year

What do we think? The additional $1.20 spend over 12 months over every initial $1 spend doesn’t sound like too much. It’s like they buy a second array that’s slightly larger than the first one. That’s satisfying and steady, but doesn’t seem dramatic.

How does it compare to hybrid array supplier Nimble Storage’s land-and-expand rate? It’s hard to say. CEO Suresh Vasudevan said in his last shareholder letter: “Our land-and-expand model continues to thrive as our customers typically spend more than double their initial deployment within two years, driving a healthy pattern of repeat bookings.”

The competitive win-rate against its leading competitor, EMC, is 70 per cent for POC face-offs. We don’t know what the overall competitive win rate against EMC is, but we might suggest it’s less than 70 per cent.

Dietzen admits lost sales in POC bake-offs are due to “politics and creative deal-making: bundling, maintenance forgiveness and freebies”.

Eliminating a year or more of latency per month is an example of brilliantly inventive marketing. Intel could use that with CPU upgrades: every extra core saves you a year of CPU latency per [insert unit here]. Hard to turn that latency savings concept into ROI dollars, though.

Dietzen also declares Pure is more cost-effective than hyper-converged appliances: “For our target workloads of databases and virtual machines, Pure Storage is generally lower cost (in that it requires 5-10X less flash) as well as higher performance than the hyper-converged approach of putting vanilla SSDs into servers.”

It would be interesting to see the numbers behind this.

There’s no sign of Pure’s growth slackening. We don’t know Pure’s annual revenue run-rate or the number of arrays it has sold. The impressive statistics being thrown about are all relative.

EMC says it’s XtremIO business now has a $1.2bn annual run rate – $300m per quarter. Does Pure’s 70 per cent POC bake-off win rate mean it has a higher run rate than EMC? What a blast Dietzen’s trumpet would blow if he were able to claim that. ®

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