Nimble Storage Brings Flash-Based Data To The Cloud, Without Cloud Service Lock-In

All-flash and hybrid flash storage vendor Nimble Storage on Monday unveiled a new storage-focused cloud service aimed at making it easy for customers to switch between multiple clouds.

Nimble Storage's new Nimble Cloud Volumes is an enterprise-grade block solution that allows businesses to use multiple clouds without getting locked into any of them, said Gavin Cohen, vice president of product and solutions marketing for the San Jose, Calif.-based vendor.

Nimble Cloud Volumes does not prevent cloud lock-in by not storing data on a public cloud, Cohen told CRN.

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Instead, data is stored on Nimble Storage's flash storage-based cloud and tied to Azure or Amazon Web Services, allowing applications on the public clouds to access the data quickly, Cohen said.

"We don't use AWS or Azure to store the data," he said. "We've set up our own data centers in close proximity to Azure and AWS data centers. But we offer a lower latency than available through the public cloud services."

Nimble Cloud Volumes also offers enterprise-grade durability because the Nimble clouds are based on the company's storage technology, Cohen said.

"Azure and AWS have the same failure rate as traditional hard disk drives, which is not acceptable," he said. "We offer the same data protection capabilities, including snapshots and copy data management."

Nimble Cloud Volumes includes the company's new Predictive Cloud Platform, previously known as the Predictive Flash Platform, Cohen said. This is based on Nimble Storage's InfoSight predictive analytics technology and its Multicloud Flash Fabric which allows data to be migrated across any combination of all-flash and hybrid flash storage across private and public clouds, he said.

Nimble Cloud Volumes is a natural evolution of storage in the cloud, and is in line with where the storage market, in general, is moving, said John Q. Bristol, vice president of architectural engineering at Trace3, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider and Nimble Storage channel partner.

"It's very much in-line directionally with where we see manufacturers going in terms of services in the cloud," Bristol told CRN. "It's a game changer and something that will provide a lot of growth opportunity for channel partners."

Nimble Storage has done well to incorporate much of its unique intellectual property including its predictive analytics and flash storage technology in Nimble Cloud Volumes, Bristol said.

"A lot of Nimble Storage's unique value propositions will be in the cloud," he said.

Nimble Storage has been a great partner to solution providers like Trace3, Bristol said. "They're up there at the top in terms of support, working with us, and investing in the channel," he said. "A big part of that is the presence of a lot of ex-Cisco channel people there. Channel resonates in its DNA."

Leonard Iventosh, vice president of worldwide channel at Nimble Storage, said the company, which depends on channel partners for 100 percent of revenue, wants to put partners back in control of their accounts.

"When a customer says it wants to move workloads to the cloud, this often has meant partners lose control of the account," Iventosh told CRN. "We are providing the opportunity for partners to have the cloud discussion with customers, and make sure customers have all they need to know, including the cost of the cloud and how to migrate data to public clouds."

Nimble Storage is providing revenue incentives, margins, and spiffs to help partners work with customers make the right cloud storage decision, Iventosh said. "Like everything we do, this was designed with partners in mind," he said.

Pricing for Nimble Cloud Volumes starts at about 10 cents per gigabyte, per month, which Cohen said is competitive to native cloud-based block storage.