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Why would a customer not look at Nimble?

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Occasional Contributor

Why would a customer not look at Nimble?

Here is my take on some of the key differentiators for Nimble Storage – this is from last year but still relevant. What are next steps at Five9, Lithium etc.?

  1. First storage platform to be designed from the ground up to take advantage of new technology such as multicore processors & solid state drives; most others are based on older technology like single core processors and use SSD as the highest tier of storage – hence they put RAID on SSDs etc. which reduces the life of SSDs.
  2. Impeccable heritage – tech execs are formerly from NetApp & DataDomain; primary storage and back-up/DR features built into the same platform.
  3. Unparalled performance for the cost - use of software and SSDs as flash to deliver 15,000 (200 series) - 45,000(400 series) IOPS in a single 3U box with just 12x 7200 rpm SATA drives. Legacy vendors require an entire rack of SAS (~300 drives) or SATA (~500 drives) spindles to deliver the same performance; Nimble dissociates performance (IOPS) from number of spindles. Each 3U box consumes just 500W so we get savings on rackspace, power and cooling. Great platform for VDI.
  4. ALL software (for replication, data protection etc. – SnapMirror, SnapVault, FlexClone equivalents)  is included at no additional cost as is full redundancy (dual controllers, power supplies etc.).
  5. Only platform that can scale in 3 directions: Up for performance (200 series controller to 400 series controller), Out for capacity and performance(cluster up to 4 boxes together) and Deep for capacity (add 3 shelves of up to 45 TB each per 3U array) à maxing out at 180,00 IOPS & ~900TB.
  6. Most efficient snapshots in the industry – each box can hold up to 10,000 snapshots locally. DR is easily achieved with a second 3U box.
  7. All human tech support is Tier 3 only; tier 1 and tier 2 are taken care of by 4th Gen Auto-support (NetApp was 1st gen – this is written by the same person) that sends a heartbeat every 5 minutes which sends back info on 600 parameters.
  8. Numerous awards and customers love them – see below:


Re: Why would a customer not look at Nimble?

Look? Certainly should. Use? Maybe not. For example:

No AIX support

Only iSCSI


Not multi-tenant safe (mainly because of the lack of vlans)

No LAG, requiring MPIO for all hosts

No IP failover between interfaces, again requiring MPIO

No real tiering (rumor has it that QoS is on the way)

I do like these boxes. I'm moving all the loads I can from our NetApps. But there are some features that enterprises and service providers need that aren't there (yet?)


Re: Why would a customer not look at Nimble?

You raise good points, Chuck, and I agree with a lot of them. The great thing is we're certainly looking to address a lot of the points above in the next 12-24 months of product...

If you'd like to know more - ask your friendly local SE!

Nick Dyer
Nimble Field CTO & Evangelist

twitter: @nick_dyer_

Re: Why would a customer not look at Nimble?

Don't worry, I bug Bryce all the time

Occasional Visitor

Re: Why would a customer not look at Nimble?

QOS is definitely something we would be able to leverage heavily. The only way I can control IO is through VMware by limiting IOPs from specific VMs. There was also talk of a way to pin specific volumes to SSD, which I haven't seen yet. We would certainly have an application for that as well.

We had looked at a product from FusionIO that is somewhat similar to the Nimble that is currently doing QOS, It's a little different in that they have onboard FusionIO cards instead of SSD, so they claim lower latencies for read and writes. There were a lot of red flags with that product however, no snapshots to speak of, no expansion options, and no compression.

We're happy with Nimble, and the flexible options for expansion Viv pointed at were a huge selling point for us.