Wednesday, 10 December 2014 12:40

VIDEO: Interview with Nimble Storage’s VP Asia Pacific, Peter O’Connor


Nimble Storage is the storage market’s young gun with its disruptive Adaptive Flash platform, and we talk to its Sydney-based Asia Pac VP, Peter O’Connor about the company and its solutions.

Nimble Storage bills its flash storage solutions as ‘enabling the consolidation of all workloads and eliminate storage silos by providing enterprises with significant improvements in application performance and storage capacity.’

At the same time, it’s no surprise to see Nimble claiming ‘superior data protection, while simplifying business operations and lowering costs.’

The core of its Adaptive Flash platform is its ‘patented Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) architecture and InfoSight, an automated cloud-based management and support system that maintains storage system peak health’, with which the company’s aim ‘is to give customers the most efficient flash storage platform in the industry.’

Founded in 2008, the company ‘believed it could transform the world of storage by leveraging two key external disruptions: Flash and cloud connectivity’ and is doing just that for over 4000 enterprises, governments, and service providers across 37 countries.

As a bit of background, within data centres, Nimble’s customers have hundreds of workloads that require storage.

Some of these applications require ‘exceptionally high-performance and low latency access to data’, while others demand lots of cost-effective capacity - and many need a blend of both within a cost envelope.

More importantly, Nimble notes that ‘application needs are rarely static - they can be expected to vary significantly over time.’

While the traditional storage industry has asked its customers ‘to segment their infrastructure into flash-only arrays for high-performance applications, nearline arrays for capacity-intensive applications, and hybrid arrays for mainstream applications’, it has resulted in a problem: ‘storage environments that are expensive, difficult to manage, and unresponsive to change.’

Nimble believes its customers want ‘a single architecture that can satisfy the changing needs of their business-critical applications. They want performance, capacity and scalability in solutions that are flexible, easy-to-manage and affordable.’

Here’s our video interview with Peter O’Connor, Asia Pac VP of Nimble Storage:

Nimble has also been in the media recently, having launched what it says is ‘the industry’s first utility-based Storage-on-Demand pricing model’ and says it is ‘a true utility-based model that eliminates archaic long-term commitments by delivering service levels based on actual requirements and usage versus pre-defined hardware configurations.’

The company notes that ‘organisations building private or public clouds leveraging OpenStack can now fully realise the value of Nimble’s Adaptive Flash platform to predict, manage and deliver the storage required to optimise business applications and workloads across their IT environments.’

Promising ‘innovative new pricing and deployment models’, Nimble says it is ‘providing enterprises and service providers with the highest level of choice and control over their storage infrastructure within cloud environments.’

Nimble also recently announced the availability of ‘Fibre Channel protocol support for the CS-series arrays’ in its Adaptive Flash platform, and claims this is ‘a significant milestone, enabling Nimble to effectively address enterprise-wide storage requirements and quadruple the addressable market the company is now able to serve.’

Nimble also ‘introduced significant expansion of the scalability limits for its CS-series array clusters’. By leveraging a combination of increased shelf count, denser Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) and denser Solid State Drives (SSDs), Nimble says it ‘now enables enterprises to scale non-disruptively to over 1.6PBs of raw capacity and over 160TBs of flash per cluster to handle very large datasets while maintaining the highest levels of responsiveness.’

The company says that ‘enterprises are under pressure to keep pace with increasing user expectations and place a premium on maintaining service level agreements (SLA) and achieving peak workload performance.’

To maintain compliance with SLAs, enterprise IT organisations have provisioned storage in alignment with the unique performance and capacity requirements of individual workloads, exacerbating storage silo sprawl, increasing cost and complexity and exposing the business to risk.

Unsurprisingly, Nimble says its Adaptive Flash platform ‘addresses this challenge by effectively consolidating enterprise workloads onto a single storage array.’

Nimble’s notes its ‘scale-to-fit architecture is purpose-built to scale storage performance and capacity in line with workload requirements and InfoSight, the company’s powerful and intuitive cloud-based management and analytics engine, provides the proactive insight required to scale application environments in an informed, intelligent manner.’

Nimble Storage CEO, Suresh Vasudevan said: “Enterprise customers continue to adopt our flash solutions over incumbent vendors because our consolidation platform will adapt to meet the needs of growing workloads without disruption. By expanding the connectivity choice, we are now able to address enterprise-wide applications and workloads. Adding Fibre Channel protocol support dramatically expands our addressable market and ability to serve large enterprise and cloud service provider customers.”

Tim Stammers, senior analyst, 451Research said: “Nimble has been moving steadily upmarket, by extending its portfolio with new, larger and more powerful systems. Adding Fibre Channel support is an important part of this progression, and will open more doors for Nimble by increasing the flexibility and appeal of its products to large enterprises and service providers - for whom Fibre Channel is the dominant and fastest growing form of storage networking.” 

Matthew Soroka – Director Data Center Solutions, CDW said: “As a National solutions provider, CDW relies on partners, like Nimble Storage, to build products that meet our customers’ needs. With Nimble’s addition of Fibre Channel to its portfolio validates its efforts to provide robust data solutions to meet the evolving needs of customers. The company's flash storage solutions have already garnered a high confidence level due to their performance and efficiency benefits, this insertion of Fibre Channel furthers their ability to service a more diverse customer set.”

The company has strong financial results backing up all of these announcements and capabilities, too, reporting ‘total revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2015 of US$53.8 million, representing growth of 89% year-over-year.’

Australian companies and organisations using Nimble include the ‘Australian Institute of Management, Camberwell Grammar School, Department of Premier and Cabinet – Tasmania, Grant Thornton, Goulburn Ovens TAFE, Melbourne Olympic Parks Trust, M&C Saatchi, Parliament of Victoria, Recoveriescorp, Staples, Tenix, and Woods & Grieve Engineers.’

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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