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The changing market in cloud storage

cloud storage
(Image credit: Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

Today we are increasingly realizing that we live in the age of data. With connected devices and digital workspaces, we’re constantly creating more data... and lots of it. Certainly, the ever-increasing creation of personal and commercial data is changing the way we operate online. The struggle to manage and organize vast databases has led to innovation in multiple sectors, core among which is the cloud storage industry.

Cloud storage technology enables businesses to do more with their data and promises to change the way companies manage data. With cloud storage, it should be easy to share data across devices and between employees in an integrated organizational cloud network. 

Pure is delivering on this promise. We provide agile and high-performing cloud storage infrastructure that is easy to use. Rather than merely storing files and data, Pure believes that cloud storage can be used for so much more. That is why we have made user collaboration a core component of their organizational philosophy.

What have been some of the biggest changes in the storage industry over the past 10 years? 

The most significant shift in the cloud storage market in recent years has undoubtedly been the arrival of flash technology. Today, more than 70% of organizations use flash in their data storage software. However, the development of storage-as-a-service has also been pivotal. 

All-flash storage

I would identify 2014 as the year in which flash technology really took off in the cloud storage market. From this point in time, the use of flash technology continues to increase. In contrast, the use of solid-state disk technology continues to decrease. 

As flash technology becomes ever cheaper, we are likely to continue to see its uptake by cloud storage providers for years to come.

The new flash-to-flash-to-cloud approach 

The arrival of flash-to-flash-to-cloud (F2F2C) technology was another pivotal moment in the development of the cloud storage market. This technology was more cost-effective, making it easier for consumers to access data and increase the range of integrations possible (think advanced analytics or artificial intelligence). 

Storage-as-a-service 

Even 20 years ago, the concept of storage-as-a-service (STaaS) would have seemed a silly idea, particularly at scale. Most businesses used on-prem storage solutions or used rudimentary private cloud platforms.

But today, the STaaS model is the standard and powers most organizations’ data storage infrastructure. STaas has made cloud storage accessible and affordable for businesses for whom otherwise the technology would have been prohibitively expensive or complicated.

How do you ensure you stay focused as a company on your goals? 

From the beginning, we wanted to be different. Our company started with the realization that the cloud storage market was boring and stale. The big providers weren’t innovating, and new players weren’t disrupting the status quo. We wanted to change that. 

We put the customer at the core of our organizational philosophy and decided that their success would be our success. To deliver on this, we had to recognize that our customers’ needs were changing rapidly as the possibilities for creating and managing data also changed. 

This focus on our customers is why we dedicate 18% of our total revenue to research and development. Our R&D team is constantly looking to innovate. They ensure we provide new cloud storage solutions for our customers before they even realize they need them. 

How important has the relationship with your customers been in helping Pure Storage grow? 

The customer always has been and always will be central to our business model. Our innovation strategy is based on what the customer wants and needs. Unlike some other companies, we want to create a product that suits our customers, not create customers that suit our product.

I believe this model is one of the key reasons for our success in recent years and explains why our Net Promoter Score has been in the top 1% of B2B businesses for four years running.

How do you see the storage market changing in the next 10 years? 

Undoubtedly, flash storage technology will continue to improve for years to come, which will drive further improvements in cloud storage technology. I anticipate faster, more reliable, and more powerful cloud storage platforms

But we can also continue to improve the customer experience and our STaaS model. As our customer’s needs change, we will change with them, offering new functionalities and improving existing ones.

Our goal of providing a comprehensive data storage solution for businesses won’t change. We will continue to make it easier for companies to combine cloud-based and on-prem storage solutions in one easy-to-use but powerful platform.

What is one piece of advice you would give entrepreneurs starting a business today? 

Follow the customers. As their needs change, you should change too. Investing in your customers, and understanding how and why they use your platform, will pay dividends today and into the future. 

Truly understanding your customers, however, isn’t easy. It requires forethought, it requires resources, and most importantly, it requires you to spend time with them and walk a mile in their shoes.