December 2, 2014

Nimble Storage built to last

Nimble Storage ( | NYSE:NMBL), leader in mid-enterprise storage with a converged storage approach, was the 1st meeting of the IT Press Tour week yesterday. It's always good to meet a company that picked the tour a few years ago, continue to participate even when they became public, for Nimble, with this session, it's the 4th time. Thank you for the confidence you have in us.
Before jumping into Nimble solutions, let me summarize some key milestones and figures for the company:
  • more than 125PB of data stored on CS arrays,
  • 4319 clients as of today,
  • more than 400 service providers,
  • almost 6x growth in 2 years with Q1FY2013 of 8.1M$ to 46.5M$ for Q1FY2015.
Nimble was founded with a clear idea that Flash and Cloud should be combined with a radical new design for the data management intelligence piece. No doubt with CASL - Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout - they reached that point of a very well optimized Flash-based file system. Nimble has started with mid-range and reasonable storage capacity but their technology can really scale to 500K IOPS and 1.2PB usable (before compression) for the 4 nodes cluster with the CS700 model.
At the same time, they launched a very interesting project and solution named InfoSight that really makes the glue between the storage on-premise deployed at customer sites and Nimble as the vendor. In two words, InfoSight is a very intelligent call-home tool but here the classic approach is extended with comprehensive telemetry doing 12 to 70M sensors per array, daily, with a default of frequency of 5 minutes but can be also on-demand. It provides analysis and automation, storage management and failures alerts and do some proactive wellness. In fact, InfoSight is about a better support, a better reactivity, best practices and deep knowledge on how users configure and uses the various CS platforms. Great idea, Nimble understands that the first sale is important but repeatable sales to the same users are more important having the user as a customer for a long time without finally a lot of efforts but a deep trust in the product. Clever.
The second initiative is the Storage on-Demand service that offers a very flexible payment method for users. In fact, users are invoiced monthly based on capacity and 10% is always included to avoid any space issues. The service starts with a 12 months subscription with a minimum of 40TB and then it becomes a monthly option. Of course, storage volume can grow and shrink. This allows the user to really manage carefully the storage deployed with a perfect budget control and based on real consumption.
The last point is critical for a company who touches the market via channel only. Based on InfoSight collected data and of course expertise of Nimble's teams, Nimble developed a sizing tool that is available for the channel to better promote the solution and recommend the best configuration. This free tool delivers what Nimble names Scale-to-Fit. Again, a immediate advantage over competition that facilitates the sale process and most of the time reduces the sales cycle as well.

InfoSight, CASL, FC support and the growing product line will offer for sure new opportunities for Nimble and 2015 will be an interesting year. The valuation of the company seems to be on average around 2B$ and Nimble Storage belongs to the alternative players category that compete every day with the classic giants. Definitely, Nimble must be followed in 2015.

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