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What Is Storage as a Service (STaaS)?

Storage as a service (STaaS) is a subscription service model where a storage provider supplies access to storage and compute resources both on premises and/or over the cloud. STaaS saves you money through operating expenditure (OPEX) agility—you only pay for the storage you need, when you need it. In this article, we’ll dive into what STaaS is, how it works, and what its benefits are.

How does storage as a service work?

The core idea behind STaaS is relatively simple. You subscribe to data storage as you would to any other managed service. By entrusting your data requirements to an experienced third party, you gain access to the latest and greatest in storage management technologies and reliability without having to incur the technical overhead of managing those resources yourself. Let’s take a closer look at how this subscription model works.

Data subscription models

STaaS providers typically offer two main ways to subscribe to their storage services:

  • By quantity: You decide on some upper limit of storage capacity, such as a terabyte per month, and you pay for storage capacity in bulk in advance, usually at a discount.
  • Service level agreements (SLAs): You pay as you go by rates predetermined in an SLA you signed with the storage provider. This gives you the granularity to pay only for what you use.

In practice, you have to decide which data storage subscription model is best for your organisation. The more agility and granularity you need, the more you’ll benefit from an SLA versus a bulk data subscription.

Data Types: Block vs. File vs. Object Storage

There are three main types of data storage used in the industry today: block, file, and object storage. These can have an impact on the overall cost of your storage subscription so it’s important to understand the difference between them:

  • Block storage: This storage format is favored by relational databases and storage area networks. Information is broken up into blocks of data that can be efficiently distributed across a storage platform. Unique identifiers allow the information to be reassembled when retrieved.
  • File storage: If you’ve ever used a file system on a PC, you’ve used this type of storage. Information is stored as files navigable via a file directory.
  • Object storage: This is the preferred storage format for APIs, IoT devices, and AI. Unstructured data is stored as objects with descriptive metadata which allows for efficient retrieval in a flat space. This is the most scalable.

Why use storage as a service?

Buying new storage capacity can be an expensive capital expenditure (CAPEX), especially if you aren’t sure how much capacity you’ll need in the future. You can try to predict the growth of your business and purchase with the future in mind, but it can tie up financial resources that might have more impact elsewhere in your business.

STaaS lets you treat storage as OPEX. You sign an SLA with your STaaS provider and “pay as you go” for storage and data transfer rates (e.g., cost per gigabyte). Best of all, this whole process is automated, allowing you to scale your storage needs up and down as demand requires while maintaining performance and availability 24x7.

Benefits of storage as a service

One of the key benefits of STaaS is that it can help organisations save on up-front costs associated with purchasing and maintaining their own storage infrastructure, allowing them to control uncertainty and minimize risk. In addition, STaaS providers typically offer service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee certain levels of uptime and performance. This can give customers peace of mind knowing that they have reliable access to their data.

To summarize, the primary benefits of STaaS include:

  • An OPEX subscription model that lets you optimise your storage costs
  • Eliminating waste with a predictable cost model and a unified subscription, improving your technology cost structure
  • The ability to scale to adjust as the business needs while reducing operational risk, enhancing the stability of your environment 
  • Leaving behind the risk of ownership for a service model where the quality of service remains consistent
  • The always-on reliability of major storage service providers
  • A simplified storage management environment

Common storage as a service uses

STaaS can be used to provision block, file, and object storage for all your data needs. Common examples of STaaS use cases include:

  • Raw storage volumes
  • Shared file systems 
  • Database management systems
  • Hosting applications 
  • Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS)
  • Extract, load, and transform (ETL) pipelines
  • Disk replacement
  • Long-term backup and retention
  • Ransomware recovery
  • Disaster recovery solutions (e.g., backup and restore, snapshots)

How Pure Storage Delivers STaaS on-premises

When most people think of STaaS, they’re usually thinking of cloud storage, but what if you could make your on-premises data storage as simple and as agile as the cloud?

Pure Storage® Evergreen//One™ brings the operational agility of the cloud on premises and the security and resilience of bare metal to the public cloud with a single subscription to innovation.

Evergreen//One offers:

  • One unified subscription for all your file, object, and block storage needs (including maintenance and upgrades) across on premises, in a colocation facility, at an MSP/GSI location, and in the public cloud with Pure Cloud Block Store™ for AWS and Azure
  • OPEX1 all-flash STaaS for I/O-intensive applications—you get the physical flash arrays but only pay for the storage you actually use
  • AIOps-driven management, predictive analytics, insights and proactive actions, and assessments for energy efficiency and data protection with Pure1®
  • Add-on services for ransomware recovery and Pure Fusion™ Storage-as-Code
  • Customer success manager who ensures a white glove experience from logistics and installation to education, ongoing feature adoption, and value realization
  • Premium support that includes proactive support with predictive analytics, 365x7x24 global hotline, and 15-minute response time
  • Automated data protection through snapshots, high-availability clustering, and disaster recovery

Evergreen//One delivers a true hybrid-cloud experience, unifying your on-premises and cloud storage resources into a simple subscription to innovation.

Pure Storage guarantees concurrent SLAs

Pure Storage is the only vendor in the market to concurrently guarantee performance, uptime, zero data loss, buffer capacity, zero planned downtime, no data migration, energy efficiency, and ransomware recovery SLAs. Our SLAs are backed by real commitments, including service credits for violations and any remediation actions required.

These SLAs include:

  • Performance as high as 32 MB/s per TiB (R/W throughput) and 2,000 IOPS/TiB (16KiB I/O size) for //Block/Ultra and 130 MB/s per TiB (R/W throughput) for //UFFO/Ultra 
  • Uptime guarantee of 99.9999% 
  • Zero data loss for data durability against loss or corruption
  • 25% buffer capacity for burst growth at any time and no more risk of under-provisioning or cost of over-provisioning. Pure Storage proactively ships more capacity if customers are projected to fall below the buffer.
  • Zero planned downtime with the Evergreen® architecture that allows all hardware/software upgrades and updates to be performed non-disruptively without any scheduled downtime 
  • No data migration, 100% seamless storage upgrades, eliminating painful forklift upgrades associated with legacy storage vendors
  • Energy efficiency SLA with energy consumption as low as 2W/TiB for //Block Capacity 
  • New! Ransomware recovery SLA provides customers a place to recover to after a ransomware incident with an add-on service to Evergreen//One that guarantees a clean storage environment. This includes next business day shipping of clean recovery arrays in North America, Europe, and the UK (48 hours in Asia Pacific to clear customs), a documented recovery plan within 48 hours, 8 TiB per hour data transfer rate from impacted to clean arrays, and bundled professional services on-site from the time the arrays arrive through RMA of infected arrays, bringing the business back to normal operational level, and not just a temporary fix.
  • Supply chain optimisations ensure all Evergreen//One service infrastructure is deployed in 28 days or less after order is received.

In addition to backing our service with SLAs, Pure Storage will pay for your power and rack space when you purchase an Evergreen//One subscription. You can lower your data centre costs and go green if your organisation is focused on greater energy efficiency because Pure Storage is so efficient that we’ll help you achieve your sustainability goals—saving you money and our planet at the same time. This Paid Power and Rack Space Commitment demonstrates to our customers how Pure is taking financial accountability for power and space usage and will continue to optimise it over time. Just ask about our Paid Power and Rack Commitment.

Evergreen//One is a fully flexible enterprise-grade storage subscription service that unifies public cloud and on-premises data storage. Gone are the days when you had to predict the future to buy or lease storage for years in advance. With Evergreen//One, you can enjoy clear costs and a minimal reserve commitment.

1 OPEX treatment is subject to customer’s auditor review.

*Pure as-a-Service was rebranded to Evergreen//One.

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