Nimble Storage Aims High With New Hybrid Array, Flash Expansion Shelf

Nimble Storage Wednesday expanded its hybrid disk and flash storage array line with a new enterprise model plus its first-ever all-flash storage expansion shelves.

The company's new CS700 hybrid array and its new flash shelves work as part of Nimble Storage's Adaptive Flash management platform to combine the two to meet the needs of modern data center applications, said Radhika Krishnan, vice president of product marketing, solutions and alliances for the San Jose, Calif.-based storage vendor.

"Most applications need a combination of performance and capacity," Krishnan told CRN. "But the bulk of solutions are centered on either performance or capacity."

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Management of the solution is done via the Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash management platform, which is a combination of the company's CASL file system and its InfoSight cloud-based management and support application, Krishnan said.

It is that management capability, along with Nimble Storage's easy integration with Cisco environments, that has led NexusIS, a Valencia, Calif.-based solution provider that in April was acquired by Dimension Data, to take it on as a vendor, said Dave Elsner, senior vice president of NexusIS.

"We're a Cisco Advanced Technology Networking business," Elsner told CRN. "Everything we do, we work with Cisco. We do business with Nimble because of the SmartStack reference architecture for Cisco and Nimble. And Nimble's layer of management tools is attractive to the enterprise space."

NexusIS signed with Nimble about nine months ago and found the company to be very partner-friendly and partner-engaging, Elsner said.

"Nimble is helping drive our business and doing lead generation to bring business to me as a channel partner to engage my sales reps," he said. "This expands Nimble's reach into the market. It's rare for us to do a lot of business with a new partner, but in nine months we've done millions of dollars with these guys."

The new Nimble Storage CS700 is a hybrid array with the same form factor as the company's existing CS200 and CS400 arrays. It can be configured with 12 hard drives and four SSDs to provide more than 125,000 IOPS of performance in a single node, Krishnan said.

The new all-flash expansion shelves come with up to 12.8 TB of SSD capacity which, combined with the CS700's 3.2 TB of flash, give each CS700 a maximum flash storage capacity of 16 TB.

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By clustering four of the CS700 arrays, each with an expansion shelf, customers can get a configuration that provides more than 500,000 IOPS of performance, up to 64 TB of flash storage and 1 Petabyte of capacity.

Krishnan said she has not heard of anyone yet who will immediately go out and deploy a solution with the full capacity. "But we do have customers who cluster their systems for management," she said. "Customers can also cluster CS200s and CS400s with the CS700, but we don't recommend striping across unlike nodes."

Krishnan said Nimble Storage views EMC's new XtremIO all-flash array as a primary competitor. The CS700 delivers the same performance, but provides increased scalability, integrated data protection without the need to add on external software, and provides a hybrid disk and flash configuration without the need for external arrays, she said.

The CS700 and the new all-flash expansion shelves are slated to ship June 14, Krishnan said.

Nimble Storage uses a channel-only model, with Carahsoft as its primary distributor for government solution providers and Avnet as its distributor for commercial solution providers, she said.

As of June, Nimble Storage has just shy of 4,000 total customers, including 211 enterprise customers and 285 cloud service providers, she said.