Is Pure’s IPO bottle half empty or half full?

Pure Storage (PSTG) is having it’s IPO today and by most reports I’ve read, it’s been a little disappointing.

There are a couple of interesting things about this. First, Pure’s IPO has been touted as a test for “unicorn” startups – companies with unusually high levels of venture investments – and the market’s response has been “show me the path to profitability”. This will have an impact on the rest of the unicorns out there, like Uber, but probably not much impact on the more-practical storage industry.

Second, the question about Pure’s technology being a feature or a product may also have had an impact.  Flash technology is quickly overtaking the enterprise storage business and many customers – large and small – are demanding it from their vendors. It’s no surprise that everybody in the infrastructure storage business now has flash-based solutions. Savvy investors who understand the infrastructure business may have been slightly unnerved by the number of competitors Pure has helped create by their early success.

But that doesn’t mean that all these solutions are equivalent, or even competitive. An analogy I like to use is the automobile industry – there have been many different kinds of cars for many different drivers and uses. There is a lot of room in the market to find the right architecture and feature set for different types of customers. Pure and Tegile, the company I work for (and the rest of the enterprise storage industry for that matter) are competing hard for every deal. The thing is, there are going to be lots of deals as customers turn over their disk storage for flash storage.  A lot of change will come to the storage industry as a result.

wrecking ballPure may be having a lackluster IPO, but they were the wrecking ball that leveled the playing field in the storage industry – and for that – all the flash storage startups are grateful.  I wouldn’t say it’s a half-empty bottle for Pure today, but it’s certainly not half-full either. For Tegile, it’s full speed ahead, into the great expanding flash storage market.