Pure Storage Buys Portworx to Advance Stateful Kubernetes Apps

Pure Storage announced this week it has acquired Portworx for $370 million in cash as part of an effort to accelerate the adoption of stateful applications on Kubernetes clusters.

Under the terms of the deal, the provider of storage software for Kubernetes clusters will operate as a business unit of Pure Storage while the parent company continues to focus on all-Flash arrays deployed in on-premises data centers.

Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of strategy for Pure Storage, says longer-term the provider of storage arrays will replace the orchestration engine it uses today to integrate all-Flash arrays with Kubernetes with the one developed by Portworx.

Portworx will continue to operate as an arm of Pure Storage because its software-defined approach is applicable to storage platforms beyond the all-Flash arrays manufactured by Pure Storage, notes Kixmoeller. Portworx will afford Pure Storage an opportunity to extend its reach into public cloud computing platforms for the first time, he adds.

The move to acquire Portworx comes at a time when the debate over how best to handle state in containerized applications continues to wax and wane. Many IT professionals maintain that containerized applications should store data external to the Kubernetes clusters, which in effect would mean they are stateless.

Michel Ferranti, vice president of product marketing for Portworx, says that as Kubernetes clusters are increasingly adopted in enterprise IT environments it makes more sense to store data on the Kubernetes cluster itself. That approach not only streamlines operations but it also enables stateful applications to scale more easily at a time when more organizations are looking to deploy a new generation of stateful applications, he says.

Storing data external to the Kubernetes clusters just adds latency to the overall application environment, Ferranti adds.

Portworx last month revealed its average annual recurring revenue has increased by 61% in the last three quarters, with dozens of customers now having purchased $250,000 or more worth of licenses, one of which exceeded $1 million. Portworx also noted one of its customers had deployed its storage software on more than 1,500 nodes and 90 Kubernetes clusters. Existing Portworx customers include Carrefour, Comcast, GE Digital, Kroger, Lufthansa and T-Mobile.

As more organizations move toward embracing hybrid cloud computing models anchored around Kubernetes clusters, data management issues are sure to rise the fore. It’s one thing to have a common infrastructure platform in the form of Kubernetes that can run on-premises and in the cloud. It’s quite another to shift data between those platforms as application workloads migrate across platforms.

Regardless of the approach to hybrid cloud computing, Portworx does make it easier for organizations to switch Kubernetes platforms. There may be a standard Kubernetes application programming interface (API), but many of the distributions of Kubernetes have extensions into proprietary storage systems that only run on one platform. As such, organizations that want to retain control over their IT destiny need to think through how portable not just their workloads are but also the data they need to access.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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