Data storage firm Pure Storage Inc. today announced the launch of a new, fully managed version of its Kubernetes-focused data management platform, Portworx Enterprise.

Portworx Enterprise is a software service that’s designed to help developers ease the management of databases running on Kubernetes, which is widely used to orchestrate large clusters of containers that host the components of modern software applications. Kubernetes’ big problem is that it provides a relatively limited set of features for managing application data. With Portworx, Pure Storage brings essential data management capabilities to Kubernetes-based apps.

Pure Storage acquired Portworx Inc. for $370 million back in September 2020 and has since worked to integrate the platform with its data storage hardware and services to create a Kubernetes-ready data plane for any developer who works with containerized applications.

With the launch of Portworx Enterprise 3.0, Pure Storage said its full suite of Portworx offerings, including Portworx, Portworx Backup and Portworx Data Services, can now be consumed as a fully managed service on Amazon EKS, RedHat OpenShift and most other cloud-hosted Kubernetes distributions. A fully managed cloud service is one where the software provider takes care of all of the infrastructure management, updates and the like, ensuring elastic scalability and widespread availability.

Pure Storage said the fully managed Portworx service will be easier for developers to use and faster to deploy, meaning that DevOps teams can move their container-based apps into production in seconds, as opposed to days or even weeks. It provides a “no install, easy to use and easy to manage experience,” the company said, with no container storage expertise required.

Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Steve McDowell told SiliconANGLE the key advantage of containerized applications is that they can run anywhere, be it in the cloud or in data centers on-premises. It’s Kubernetes that allows this to happen, he said. “The challenge of Kubernetes is that it is, itself, a complex piece of software that requires specialized expertise to install, configure, and manage,” he added.

According to McDowell, Portworx-as-a-service is all about trying to minimize these difficulties, removing the headache of maintaining multiple Kubernetes clusters with a hosted solution that allows teams to focus on their workloads rather than the management tools.

“It’s a great approach that’s more flexible than the managed Kubernetes offerings from the public cloud providers, which tend to only work on clusters hosted within a single cloud,” McDowell said. “Portworx allows you to manage any Kubernetes cluster within reach of your network. That’s a powerful capability.”

New features

Portworx Enterprise 3.0 also brings some extra features to the table, with a new PX-Fast feature for apps with fast-ingestion needs that ensures higher performance, lower latency and higher throughput. It’s aimed at supporting online transaction processing, online analytical processing and machine learning workloads, the company said.

Pure Storage explained that Portworx now delivers a level of throughput and input/output operations that’s equivalent to writing data directly onto high performance NVMe flash storage. That provides a performance boost of up to four times that of earlier iterations of the software.

PX-Fast effectively makes Kubernetes data storage seem like local storage for cloud-native applications and their data. It means developers can make full use of the massive amounts of data generated by video-on-demand, voice over internet protocol and other data-intensive apps, with a close to zero failure rate, the company said.

“The new PX-Fast feature is the star of the show, dramatically increasing the performance of NVMe-attached flash storage,” McDowell stated. “Getting the full benefit of flash storage requires more than just attaching an SSD drive. It requires thinking about how data is accessed and managed. Pure Storage understands better than most how to wring every ounce of performance from all-flash storage. That expertise seems to have crossed over into Portworx. The numbers we’re seeing from PX-Fast in the new 3.0 release are some of the best in the industry for container storage. IT administrators will really like this.”

Another interesting new feature is the Near-Sync Disaster Recovery capability that ensures zero data loss across multiple data centers and regions to guarantee business continuity in the event of any problems.

In a final update, Pure Storage is trying to entice new users to check out Portworx with the offer of a “forever free” tier for Portworx Backup, the Kubernetes backup and data protection offering within the Portworx suite. Teams can access a fully managed version of Portworx Backup with no feature restrictions and safeguard up to a terabyte of data at no cost. Pure Storage said the free tier can be used indefinitely by any organization, though clearly it hopes that users will be so happy with the service that they’ll be willing to pay for additional capacity.

Muri Thirumale, vice president and general manager of the Cloud Native Business Unit at Pure Storage, said the company’s mission is to give developers with an enterprise-grade, Kubernetes-ready data infrastructure that’s fast, simple and scalable. “By delivering the Portworx platform as-a-service, we are bringing a modern data management platform to the fingertips of any developer who wants to work with Kubernetes in production,” he said.

Image: Pure Storage

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