Nimbus Unveils NAND Solid-State Storage As Disk Array

Nimbus Data Systems on Monday unveiled a new line of storage appliances that feature up to 100 TB of NAND-based, solid-state storage blades in place of traditional spinning hard drives.

The new Sustainable Storage appliances are aimed at not only increasing application performance, but also as a way to start helping customers replace power-hungry spinning hard drives, said Thomas Isakovich, CEO of San Francisco-based Nimbus.

Customers are seeing power costs rise out of control even as they start throwing solid-state memory devices in front of hard drives as a Band-Aid to increase storage performance, Isakovich said.

"We believe storage needs to evolve off the hard drive and to a new technology," he said.

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Nimbus' Sustainable Storage features NAND memory-based, hot-swap blades, each of which has a capacity of 200 GB. The appliance fits up to 24 of those blades into a 2U rack-mount space, Isakovich said. Up to 504 of those blades can be tied into a single system using Nimbus' HALO operating system for a total of up to 100 TB.

Nimbus has priced the Sustainable Storage in such a way as to make it attractive as an alternative to primary storage arrays featuring 15,000-rpm hard disk drives, Isakovich said.

A version with 2.5 TB of capacity is list-priced under $25,000, while a 5-TB version lists for about $40,000, he said.

Next: HALO Software Included In Price

Those prices also include the entire HALO software stack, which help make the price comparable to hard drive-based arrays that typically require optional software, Isakovich said.

With Halo, customers get in-line deduplication, which gives a 2.5-TB model a logical storage capacity of up to 20 TB.

Also included is snapshot technology, which allows an unlimited number of recovery points to be kept without increasing the amount of capacity required, as well as always-on data replication so that customers need not worry about losing data since the last replication.

Isakovich said the Nimbus Sustainable Storage appliances are aimed at primary storage, especially in virtual server environments and anywhere customers have to deal with databases or online transaction processing.

Actually, customers will probably try the appliances for both primary storage and as a cache appliance for speeding up the performance of disk-based arrays, said Jeff Sessions, vice president of sales at Red River Computing, a Claremont, N.H.-based solution provider serving government and commercial clients.

Red River does a lot of disk-based storage for customers, and the Sustainable Storage can sit in front of that storage to make the performance much faster, Sessions said.

"We've installed it in a customer site already in the DoD [Department of Defense] space," he said. "It fit right in with their existing storage. This is a product that some of the more mainstream storage vendors will have to worry about."

The Sustainable Storage appliances are expected to start shipping this week. Nimbus depends completely on channel partners for sales, Isakovich said.