After great failure and possibly incompetence on the part of NTAP (with their prior management regime) NTAP gave up and for nearly $900 million bought SolidFire, which is a company very similar to Pure. Formed in 2010, and has built from the ground up flash based storage.
SolidFire, like Pure, puts out their own blogs/marketing pieces that compare their product against the competition.
This is SolidFire comparing their storage against Pure. Now this is 2014, and Pure has certainly made many strides since then. One can only assume SolidFire did as well. And $900 million is not chickenfeed, but clearly SolidFire was less than half the size of Pure, despite starting out from the same place as Pure, than Pure was a the time NTAP bought them.
But, back in 2014, this is how SolidFire compared itself to PURE:
They identify several places, particularly at scale and redundancy, where SolidFire is superior. If accurate it would support the proposition that SolidFire more targeted larger enterprises than Pure, which focused on small to mid-size enterprises and managed to make some good in-roads to large scale enterprise. If true, this would be a good match with NTAP who has many large enterprise customers, and giving NTAP a real and built from scratch flash platform to sell.
This still creates problems for NTAP. First, NTAP’s ONTAP software is not optimized for flash, and this makes a big difference, as NTAP’s prior flash failures (and they have been failures, and many) have proven. Will NTAP support two operating systems now, or try to converge the two systems? Difficult to do either way, and if it is done will the software remain optimized for flash?
Second is sales force. NTAP’s salesforce hunts NTAP products for dinner, and switching to Fireblade is like telling a eskimo to stop hunting walrus or polar bear and do some deer hunting, or farming pigs. Both produce great food, but it is a total change of life. Will NTAP’s salesforce transition properly to a flash first world?
At some point, probably yes.
But these are challenges.
From Pure’s perspective, if SolidFire is properly integrated into NTAP’s product line and NTAP does a great job with it, Pure cannot argue it is the only large scale built from scratch flash product. The will make it more difficult to sell into NTAP accounts.
Whether or not NTAP has done this well, I do not know as yet. Just bringing up the market intelligence on what NTAP is now able to offer without having to go in the field and test for myself.