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Pure FlashArray//XL: Modern Mission-Critical Storage At Scale

This blog post is sponsored by Pure Storage. To learn more about Pure Storage, please visit

Data makes the world go round, and thus data is becoming more important by the minute. Storing and using that data to its full potential is of the utmost importance for organizations of all sizes. Many of these organizations are moving data between on-premises and cloud storage solutions to have the data available where it is economical and financially at the right place, while still providing the performance and capacity needed. Pure Storage has been at the forefront of utilizing flash-based storage arrays, by providing such a storage platform to the customer as a strong performing storage solution on-premises. And now, with the Pure Storage FlashArray//XL the customer gets even more of this in even larger capacity, let’s dive deeper.

Performance and Efficiency

Pure Storage has always been a leader in All-Flash storage arrays since they have always been on that route from the origin of the company. Where in the beginning this might have been seen as an expensive way of providing storage, it now not only gives it the Pure customer an advantage in performance and efficiency, but it also gives Pure the knowledge to be (and stay) ahead of the competition, providing the customer with easy paths to upgrade and replace their storage when needed. 

The FlashArray//XL provides the customer with a larger capacity storage option while maintaining a relatively small datacenter footprint. FlashArray//XL supports capacity up to 60% more than the FlashArray//X90 with a 20% better rack density as well as 70%+ better IOPs, throughput and latency, and providing higher resiliency and availability to support mission-critical workloads. 

And with the ability to mix and match different FlashArray solutions like the capacity-based //C and the performance-oriented//X, alongside Cloud Block Stores available in both AWS and Azure, the customer can utilize Pure Fusion to always provide the right storage to the users in a self-service, on-demand manner.

DirectFlash and DirectMemory Modules  

Pure Storage FlashArrays offer the ability to utilize DirectFlash Module (DFM), this is a flash module which is custom designed by Pure Storage. It directly connects raw Flash to the FlashArray storage over NVMe. Where it differs from the competitors, is that Pure Storage uses a flash controller or a global distributed flash translation layer. This design reduces a lot of the performance roadblocks of SSDs, utilized in legacy All-Flash storage architectures. 

As DFMs are designed to boost write performance on the FlashArray (//X and //XL series), DFMs now have Distributed Non-Volatile RAM (DNVR) built in. By utilizing DNVR on each DFM drive the FlashArray//XL configuration offers a much greater density of drive capacity in the array to reduce rack space requirements. These modules are named DFMDs (DirectFlash Modules with Distributed NVRAM) 

Since the FlashArray//X, Pure Storage has been utilizing Intel Optane specifically to reduce read latency and therefore create the fastest possible response from databases, Pure DirectMemory with Intel Optane storage-class memory (SCM) reduces latency dramatically. DirectMemory Cache software automatically refers reads from the array’s flash media to onboard DirectMemory Modules. Boosting performance for apps like on-premises databases like Oracle, SAP and SQL, as well as cloud-native databases, can therefore be achieved by adding DirectMemory Modules into new or existing FlashArray//XL, //X series. With the latest PurityOS update (6.2) Pure Storage allows prioritization of volumes and volume groups on the DMM cache and can be added up unto a 6TB capacity.

TECHunplugged’s Opinion

With the new FlashArray//XL the Pure Storage customer gets a mission-critical storage array capable of providing amazing performance and capacity. With the already impressive All-Flash Storage line-up from Pure Storage with the FlashArray//C, //X and now the //XL as well as the All-Flash Scale-Out File and Object offering the FlashBlade. 

The potential of the FlashArray//XL in the high-end storage market is huge. Beyond its the impressive capabilities, organizations can utilize the FlashArray//XL for the following:

  • • Pure1: To automate and monitor storage through AIOps 
  • • Pure Fusion: to consume Pure Storage as a Service customers can use Pure Fusion for Cloud self-service and Cloud Operating Model.
  • • Pure Evergreen: Non-disruptive upgrades that eliminates complex procurement and replacement activities.
  • • Pure-as-a-Service: which delivers agility and flexibility of public cloud storage as well as the security and performance of an all-flash infrastructure on-premises

With the FlashArray//XL Pure Storage provides its customers the capacity and performance needed to get the most out the data. With all services provided and more on the way, Pure Storage can now provide storage capabilities to medium sized businesses well into to very large enterprise datacenters.