HPE Kicks Nimble All Flash Charge Into High Gear With 'Blockbuster' Storage Capacity Efficiency Guarantee


Hewlett Packard Enterprise Monday stepped up its 100 percent channel Nimble all flash storage sales offensive with an iron clad storage efficiency guarantee that is expected to significantly reduce the sales cycle for solution providers.

The new HPE Store More guarantee assures customers they will be able to "store more raw terabyte of storage" than any other competing all flash array. HPE is promising to provide "incremental storage for free" if it is not able to meet the "storage efficiency" of an all flash competitor.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HPE President Neri On Why Dell EMC, Cisco And Pure Are Unable To Match HPE Nimble InfoSight's Artificial Intelligence Capabilities]

"It's a blockbuster," said Dave Kresse, the vice president and general manager of the HPE Nimble business, in an interview with CRN.. "A lot of people make claims in this industry. We are past claims. This is about guarantees and standing behind our commitment that we have the most effective capacity AFA (all flash array) on the market today. We are putting our money where our mouths is. We think this is going to have a huge impact."

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The guarantee - which covers all new HPE Nimble all flash storage models- came as HPE unleashed new Nimble all flash arrays that its says delivers up to a three times improvement in price performance.

The new HPE Nimble arrays include an entry level model that starts at six Terabytes of raw capacity scaling up to a high end model with four petabytes of storage capacity at less than one millisecond latency.

The "midmarket" sweet spot of the new Nimble line packs a whopping 220 percent gain in price performance over the last generation, said Kresse.

The new Nimble all flash arrays also support Storage Class Memory (SCM) and NVMe (Non Volatile Memory express protocol for faster performance)..

Some partners expect the guarantee could reduce sales cycle for HPE Nimble deals by as much as one third, taking what might have been a three month quarterly sales cycle to a 60 day sales cycle.

Sakthi Chandra, senior director of product marketing at HPE Nimble Storage, said the Store More guarantee is aimed at overcoming sales objections from customers engaged in exhaustive head to head proof of concept (POC) comparisons.

"It takes time for customers to understand data reduction, usable capacity and overhead," Chandra said. "Customers have to painfully go through this in a POC (proof of concept). What the Store More guarantee does is allow the reseller to take all those objections off the table. We believe this is going to escalate the velocity of closing a deal. An average all flash POC could take two weeks just to figure out how much capacity can be stored. We believe this will eliminate that piece of the deal."

The Store More guarantee, in fact, comes with a lot of customers confused by the different storage efficiency comparisons being made by storage vendors. "Some vendors are focusing on usable capacity, others are focused on storage overhead, but no one has come out with a crystal clear, black and white, no strings attached guarantee like this," said Chandra.

Kresse said he believes the guarantee puts the heat on competitors that have qualifiers around their respective all flash storage claims. "This HPE guarantee is very cut and dry," he said. "Guaranteed most effective capacity on the market. In many cases with this guarantee it is going to accelerate the deal by shortening or eliminating the POC part of the process."

John Quinn, founder and principal of Merrimac Solutions, an Aurora, Ill. cloud and data center solution provider, said he expects the HPE Nimble Store More guarantee in one fell swoop to reduce the average sales cycle by one third, leading to as much as a 40 percent increase in his HPE Nimble business over the next year.

"This is like the Red Sox adding (home run hitter) Bryce Harper to the lineup," said Quinn. "With the Store More guarantee I see us closing deals that used to take more than a quarter in just 60 days. As both a customer and a partner, we love this. With Nimble we don't have to have any other vendor in our storage lineup. It scales from remote offices to the enterprise."

Under the Store More guarantee, the customer must agree to certain conditions with regard to copying the data to the new Nimble all flash array. "Once the customer data is on the Nimble array, we'll do a comparison of the effective capacity," said Quinn. "What HPE is promising here is the ability to dedupe and compress the customer's data better than any other vendor."

Even with the Store More guarantee, HPE's Nimble InfoSight predictive analytics software remains the biggest competitive advantadge for Nimble, said Quinn. "There is nothing in the industry that compares to InfoSight," he said. "I start every demo with InfoSight. It allows you to drill down in the customer's complete ecosystem from the server to virtual machines and storage."

Dan Molina, chief technology officer at San Diego-based Nth Generation Computing, one of HPE's top enterprise partners and No. 359 on the CRN SP500, said he expects the Store More guarantee to drive a substantial increase in Nth Generation's Nimble sales which are already growing at a double digit clip. "HPE is truly helping simplify IT with the Store More guarantee," he said. "This is going to help us significantly reduce the sales cycle."

Molina said the biggest game changer for HPE Nimble is still InfoSight which brings AI (artificial intelligence) to the data center with breakthrough technology that enables solution providers to pinpoint application performance IO bottlenecks in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional IT management products.

"InfoSight is the secret sauce," said Molina. "It provides tremendous value and saves a lot of IT headaches for customers. In general when applications have a performance problem the first place customers look is storage, but that is often not the issue. InfoSight provides visibility into exactly where the storage application IO bottleneck actually is. InfoSight looks at the relevant technology stacks including memory, compute, networking, applications and host contention, and uses AI to pinpoint the actual application performance IO bottleneck."

Dan Sytsma, vice president and general manager of Melillo Consulting, one of HPE's top Platinum enterprise partners, said he also expects the "bold" Store More guarantee along with the new product line to drive new sales pipeline for Melillo. "It's great to see HPE being so aggressive with Nimble," he said. "This announcement combined with Infosight is a great solution for customers. Infosight is in the forefront of how cost effective support is going to be delivered to customers in the future."

Kresse said the Store More guarantee is a testament to HPE's confidence in the Nimble all flash array storage capacity efficiency versus competitors. "We are putting our money where our mouth is and we are going to back it up if we are proven wrong," he said. "We have very, very high confidence that is not going to happen because we understand how we have architected our solution and how competitive solutions are architected and we have high confidence we will be delivering the most effective storage capacity with this new AFA."