UPDATED 13:30 EDT / OCTOBER 02 2019


Q&A: Pure Storage and Splunk SmartStore split storage and compute for cloud-era scalability

Storage and compute have been inseparable since the dawn of the database. Originally linked to reduce latency for transactional databases, the computing world has since moved beyond the demands of transactional processing. With today’s scalable architecture, tightly coupling storage and compute negatively impacts speed and availability — and increases costs.

“If you look at the demand today, we can see that the demand for storage is all based in the demand for compute,” said Bharath Aleti (pictured, right), director of product management at Splunk Inc. “[So] if we need to provide performance at scale, there needs to be a better solution than what we have right now.”

Aleti and Vaughn Stewart (pictured, left), vice president of technology alliances at Pure Storage Inc., spoke with Dave Vellante (@dvellante) and Lisa Martin (@LisaMartinTV), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the Pure//Accelerate event in Austin, Texas. They discussed the relationship between Splunk and Pure and the benefits of Splunk SmartStore (see the full interview with transcript here). (* Disclosure below.)

[Editor’s note: The following answers have been condensed for clarity.]

Martin: Let’s start by talking about this Splunk-Pure relationship. Long relationship, new offerings, joint value, what’s going on?

Stewart: So, Splunk and Pure have had a long relationship around accelerating customer’s analytics, the speed at which they can get their questions answered, the rate at which they can ingest data … to be able to ingest more sources, look at more data, get faster time to take action. Splunk has released a new architecture, a significant evolution from the traditional Splunk architecture. [It’s] disaggregated based off caching and an object store construct called SmartStore.

Martin: Tell us more about Splunk’s SmartStore.

Aleti: What SmartStore brings to the table is that it decouples compute and storage. So now you can scale storage independent of compute. We broke the paradigm of compute and storage co-location and added a small twist: We bring compute and storage closer together only on demand. So, that means when we are running a query or we know we are running a search, and whenever the data is being looked for, that is only when we bring the data together.

The other key thing that we do is we have an active data set. We ensure that SmartStore has a very powerful cache manager that ensures that the active data set is always in the cache — very similar to the RAM on your laptop. The RAM on your laptop has active data sets always in the cache, always on memory. So [that’s] very similar to that SmartStore cache, [which] allows you to have your active data set always locally on the indexer so that your search performance is not impacted.

The SmartStore feature is already available on-premises. We are also already using it to host all of our Splunk cloud deployments as well, and it’s available for customers who want to deploy Splunk on AWS.

Vellante: How does Pure Storage fit with SmartStore?

Stewart: Where we come in relative to SmartStore is we were a co-developer, a launch partner. And because our object offering FlashBlade is a high-performance object store, we are a little bit different than the rest of the Splunk S3 partner ecosystem who have invested in slow, more of an archive-mode of S3. We have always been designed, and betting on the future would be based on high-performance large-scale object [storage]. And so we believe SmartStore is a perfect example of a modern analytics platform.

We’ve done comparison tests with other SmartStore search results that have been published in other vendors’ white papers, and we show FlashBlade, when we run the same benchmark, is 80 times faster.

So, what you can now have with that architecture is confidence. Should you find yourself in a compliance or regulatory issue, something like [General Data Protection Regulation], where you’ve got 72 hours to notify everyone who’s been impacted by a breach [or] any time where you’ve got to go back into history, we’re going to deliver those results faster than any other object store in the market today.

Martin: Does Splunk consider what FlashBlade is doing here an accelerant of Splunk workloads in customer environments?

Aleti: Definitely because with the SmartStore cache, we allow high performance at-scale for data that resides locally in the cache. But now by using a high-performing object store like Pure FlashBlade, customers can expect the same high performance both when data is in the cache, as well as when it’s in the remote store.

Vellante: We’ve been watching Splunk for a long time, and when we started to talk about who’s going to own the big data space, we said: “It’s going to be Splunk.” And that’s what’s happened. Could you talk to the explosion of Splunk and the workloads, and what kind of opportunity this provides for the company?

Aleti: So, what we have seen is that Splunk has become the defacto platform for all of unstructured data. A huge differentiator for Splunk is the schema on-read, which opens up the possibilities because there is no structure to the data. You can ask questions on the fly, and you can use that to investigate, to troubleshoot and analyze and take the immediate actions on what is happening.

With our new acquisitions we have added additional capabilities where we can orchestrate the whole end-to-end flow with Phantom [security orchestration]. So, a lot of these acquisitions are also helping enable the market for us.

Vellante: How do you see Pure Storage’s partnership with Splunk in terms of supporting total accessible market expansion in the next 10 years?

Stewart: We want to double down on our investments as we go through the end of this year and into next year with focus on Splunk, as well as other alliances. We believe the combination of flash array for the hot-tier and FlashBlade for the cold, is a nice way for customers with classic Splunk architecture to modernize their platform, leverage the benefits of data reduction to drive down some of the cost, leverage the benefits of flash to increase the rate at which they can ask questions and get answers.

And when customers are ready, they can go through a rolling non-disruptive upgrade to SmartStore, have investment protection, and if they can’t re-purpose that flash array, they can use Pure as-a-Service to have the flash arrays to hot tier today and drop it back off to us when they’re done with it tomorrow.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Pure//Accelerate event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Pure//Accelerate event. Neither Pure Storage Inc., the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

A message from John Furrier, co-founder of SiliconANGLE:

Your vote of support is important to us and it helps us keep the content FREE.

One click below supports our mission to provide free, deep, and relevant content.  

Join our community on YouTube

Join the community that includes more than 15,000 #CubeAlumni experts, including Amazon.com CEO Andy Jassy, Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger, and many more luminaries and experts.

“TheCUBE is an important partner to the industry. You guys really are a part of our events and we really appreciate you coming and I know people appreciate the content you create as well” – Andy Jassy