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Nimble Storage Intros Fibre Channel In New Enterprise Play

Nimble Storage expanded beyond its iSCSI roots with the introduction of 16-Gbit Fibre Channel connectivity on its CS-series arrays as a way to increase its presence in enterprise storage accounts.


Nimble Storage, best known for its iSCSI-based hybrid flash and disk storage arrays, on Tuesday confirmed earlier CRN reports that it has introduced new Fibre Channel versions of its arrays.

Nimble Storage also is now supporting new 4-TB hard drives as a way to increase the capacity of its arrays up to 1.6 petabytes using six expansion shelves, along with support for up to 160 TB of flash storage in a four-node cluster, said Radhika Krishnan, vice president of solutions and alliances for the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor.

Krishnan said the addition of 16-Gbit Fibre Channel-based arrays to Nimble's product line stems from the company's launch in June of its Adaptive Flash management platform, which combines Nimble's CASL file system, and its InfoSight cloud-based management and support application.

[Related: Storage As A Service: Nimble, Tegile Intro New Pricing]

The new Fibre Channel version of Nimble's CS-series arrays was driven by customer requirements for Fibre Channel connectivity, Krishnan told CRN.

"Even though we demonstrated the same performance between Fibre Channel and iSCSI, some customers already have Fibre Channel infrastructure and cabling in place," she said. "This is focused on providing customer choice."

Nimble Storage has priced its Fibre Channel-based arrays the same as its iSCSI models, Krishnan said.

Adding Fibre Channel was a great move for Nimble Storage, said Marc Ferguson, account manager at ISG Technology, a Salina, Kansas-based solution provider and Nimble Storage partner.

"We've been waiting for that for a while," Ferguson told CRN. "Ninety-nine out of 100 enterprise customers have an existing Fibre Channel infrastructure. Plugging iSCSI into that existing infrastructure is more difficult than plugging in Fibre Channel."

Furthermore, Ferguson said, enterprise administrators have been dealing with Fibre Channel for five to 10 years. "They've been managing it forever," he said. "It's the path of least resistance for them."

ISG Technology has been selling iSCSI to enterprise customers, but the company's success has primarily been at the edge, or in small or home offices, Ferguson said. "Fibre Channel support will bring Nimble back to the core," he said.

Mike Davis, vice president of technology at Broadleaf Services, a Billerica, Mass.-based solution provider and Nimble Storage partner, said Fibre Channel will increase the vendor's visibility in enterprise customers.

"Nimble now has the rest of the tools it needs to be an enterprise solution provider," Davis told CRN. "Customers with investments in 16-Gbit Fibre Channel are not going to reinvest in 10-Gbit iSCSI."


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