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FlashBlade™ ― an AI answer from a VIP provider

By Richard Arneson

If you are in any way connected to the IT industry, you can’t, and haven’t been able to for years, take a breath without stumbling across the word Flash. With apologies to the superhero created prior to World War II, flash was, as early as twenty (20) years ago, associated with Adobe Flash, the ubiquitous plug-in originally created by Macromedia that allows animations and interactive content to be incorporated into web browsers. Flash forward a few years and now that word is all about memory and storage. While flash storage was initially manufactured in 1992 by SanDisk, the technology didn’t truly sink its teeth into consumers until USB flash drives were introduced to the marketplace at the turn of the century (this century). Since those thumb drives were introduced, however, the word flash and how it’s referenced has come a long, long way. (If you need a refresher on the relationship between flash memory and flash storage, check this out ― Flash, yes, but is it storage or memory?

Pure Storage―take a guess what they’re experts at?

Pure Storage, as its name implies, focuses on, and specializes in, one (1) hugely important segment of the industry―storage. Started just nine (9) years ago, Pure Storage is time and again voted a leader in its field. If you’re familiar with the Gartner Magic Quadrants, their analysis of solid-state arrays has listed Pure Storage within its coveted upper-righthand “Leader” quadrant in each of the last five (5) years. And if that’s not enough, they’re listed as the most northeastern company in the Leader quadrant. In other words, their “Ability to Execute” and “Completeness of Vision” places them firmly ahead of the other eleven (11) companies researched. In the IT industry, being a jack of all trades and master of none―whether you’re an engineer, consultant, equipment manufacturer, et al.―can be a risky proposition. It’s possible (see Cisco, Dell EMC and HPE), but it’s far easier to take this approach if you’re in, well, another industry. Let’s face it; the IT industry is a far different animal. It encompasses so much information, thoughts, theories, research and technologies that attempting to master it all is like trying to sop up the Atlantic Ocean with a beach towel.

FlashBlade―another “flash” term you should learn

To dovetail with yesterday’s blog (Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning), FlashBlade is Pure Storage’s answer to the growing need for AI (Artificial Intelligence) and that technology’s ability to transform data into intelligence. Earlier this year, Pure Storage joined forces with NVIDIA, the 20-year-old PC gaming company, to create what they’re calling AIRI, which stands for AI-Ready Infrastructure. Gaming aside, NVIDIA created the GPU (graphics processing unit), which has exponentially more processors per chip than CPUs. GPUs are optimized specifically for data computations, and they’re much smaller than a CPU, which means more of them can be jammed onto a single chip. And because AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning must calculate computations with huge amounts of data, the GPUs can perform up to ten (10x) times better than their CPU counterparts. The Pure Storage and NVIDIA AIRI is specifically built for deep learning environments and delivers a fully integrated platform that provides an out-of-the-box, scaled-out AI solution. The rack-scale architecture allows customers to add additional blades based on their specific AI needs, and to do so without any data migration or downtime. Ultimately, AIRI was created to help customers more easily dip their toes into the AI waters with a low-latency, high-bandwidth, out-of-the-box solution, all in a compact, 4U form factor.

An even simpler solution…

The tenured, talented engineers and solutions architects at GDT are experienced at delivering advanced, cutting-edge solutions for enterprises, service providers and government agencies of all sizes. If you have questions about GDT premier partner Pure Storage and what their products and solutions can provide to your organization, contact them at Engineering@gdt.com or at SolutionsArchitects@gdt.com. They’d love to hear from you.]]>

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