Nimble Storage all-flash at entry level price
Nimble Storage this week unveiled a new entry-level, full-featured, all-flash storage array with a starting street price of under $40,000.
Nimble Storage also said it has completely refreshed its hybrid flash array line to include significantly higher performance and lower cost, said Gavin Cohen, head of product marketing for the San Jose, Calif.-based company.
The release of the company’s new entry-level, all-flash array comes just six months after Nimble Storage, best known for its hybrid flash array solutions, unveiled its first all-flash arrays.
Since that launch, all-flash arrays accounted for 12 percent of the company’s total array revenue, Cohen told CRN. He could not yet comment on growth in this quarter because Nimble Storage, as a public company, has yet to report the figures.
Nimble Storage’s new AF1000 can scale to up to 165 TBs of flash storage capacity in a 4U enclosure, or up to 2 petabytes effective capacity and 350,000 IOPS in 12U of space, Cohen said.
The starting end-user price of under $40,000 includes 11 TBs of raw capacity, three years of support, and the full range of storage services Nimble Storage provides for its other systems.
The new model includes an all-inclusive software license with flat support pricing and no forklift upgrades required. Customers can also purchase Nimble Storage’s Timeless Storage package, which offers customers a three-controller upgrade after three years.
As the cost of flash storage continues to fall, it is possible that all of a customer’s storage will go to all-flash arrays, said Alan McDonald, president and CEO of All Connected, a Simi Valley, Calif.-based solution provider and long-time partner of Nimble Storage.
Nimble Storage Gets Aggressive on Entry Point Pricing with New Predictive Flash Array
New All Flash Array Offers Superior Scalability Starting under $40K USD with 3 Years of Support; New Generation of Adaptive Flash Arrays Deliver Up To 2X Performance Improvement and 40% Lower Cost of Capacity
Nimble Storage (NYSE: NMBL), the leader in predictive flash, today announced an aggressive entry point to all-flash storage. The new AF1000 is a full-featured all-flash array that offers superior scaling. Customers can start small and scale non-disruptively up to 8PB at a substantially lower cost. Nimble also introduced a new generation of Adaptive Flash arrays with significantly improved price-performance and price-capacity benefits across the portfolio. All Nimble arrays include InfoSight Predictive Analytics to predict and prevent storage and non-storage issues across the infrastructure stack.
The starting point for an AF1000 has up to 20TB effective capacity and is expandable up to 165TB effective capacity in 4U. It can also scale-up and scale-out non-disruptively to achieve over 1.2M IOPS and 8PB of all-flash capacity. Because every Nimble All Flash and Adaptive Flash array runs the same NimbleOS, management and functionality is identical and arrays of any type can be clustered and managed as a single entity in a Unified Flash Fabric. Customers who use All Flash for primary applications can leverage Adaptive Flash for backup, disaster recovery, and archival at a third of the cost of All Flash.
Nimble Storage Price-Performance Advantage
Nimble CS-Series Adaptive Flash arrays deliver flexible performance and capacity for mixed mainstream workloads at one-third the total cost of ownership of legacy hybrid arrays. Built with the same NimbleOS, they can be clustered with Nimble All Flash arrays and managed as a single entity in a Unified Flash Fabric. In this way, applications can be transparently migrated between All Flash and Adaptive Flash.
The new portfolio consists of the CS1000, CS3000, CS5000 and CS7000 and delivers up to 2X performance improvement and 40% lower cost of capacity over the previous generation of Adaptive Flash arrays. The new high-end CS7000 array achieves up to 230K IOPS and scales to over 2.4 PB of effective capacity. Nimble All Flash arrays already benefit from inline variable block de-duplication and compression. De-duplication is planned for the Adaptive Flash arrays in a future release at no cost for existing customers who maintain an active support contract.
The new Adaptive Flash arrays are designed to suit a broad range of primary applications. They can also be built in highly cost-optimized configurations to achieve a preferred platform for secondary storage. When primary applications are on a Nimble All Flash array, an Adaptive Flash array can be used for backup, disaster recovery and archival at a third of the cost of All Flash. The new generation of Adaptive Flash arrays extend this capability further by delivering better price-performance for these secondary workloads.
Each Nimble Storage array includes InfoSight Predictive Analytics to predict and prevent issues across the infrastructure stack. The customer support experience is transformed because tasks handled by traditional Level 1 and 2 support staff are automated. The Nimble support organization is made up entirely of Level 3 experts that answer calls in less than a minute on average. The most complex issues are rapidly resolved because InfoSight already has the information required to solve the problem.
Timeless Guarantee Applied to Entire Predictive Flash Platform
Timeless storage is an innovative new business model built on trust and transparency. Every Nimble array comes with all-inclusive software licensing, guaranteed flat support pricing for the life of the product, no forklift upgrades and a seven-year lifespan on SSDs. There is also an option where after three years, a customer receives a free new controller that is guaranteed to be at least 25 percent faster when they renew support for an additional three years.
The AF1000 MSRP starts under $40,000 USD including three years of support.
For years, storage companies have touted “storage as a utility” and “storage on demand”. The efforts were meant to combat the dreaded “forklift upgrade” of legacy iron which was both disruptive and expensive.
Nimble now weighs in with it’s on-demand option with a published estimate of 6.8 cents/GB per month.
Nimble Storage On Demand
Cloud adoption is growing at an exponential rate. But organizations still have few options when it comes to data storage. Buying storage outright is expensive; leasing typically requires a long-term commitment. Neither offers the flexibility most organizations need in today’s dynamic marketplace. Organizations have been waiting for a storage solution with cloud-like agility and flexibility.
Nimble’s Storage on Demand is a subscription service for on-premise storage that adapts to businesses’ changing needs. It allows customers to decide where their storage will reside – whether it’s their own datacenter, a colocation facility, or the cloud. The storage is configured based on service levels, with billing based on usage rather than fixed configuration. Finally, customers pay monthly with only a one-year commitment.
Pay Just For What You Use.
Monthly billings accurately reflect storage usage, even when it shrinks. Monthly charges are calculated on a simple fixed rate price in cents-per-GB.
Service-Level Subscription. Storage on Demand offers four performance service levels:
Platinum (fastest), Gold, Silver, and Bronze. In each level, billings are based on actual
Never Run Out of Capacity or Performance
A 10 percent buffer, provided at no extra cost, ensures that capacity will always be available as your usage grows. Additional IOPS are automatically included to maintain performance needs.
No Excessive Lock-Ins
Storage on Demand requires a first-year commitment. Customers then have the option to cancel or continue paying
for services on a month-by-month basis.
Storage on Demand includes all the features and support organizations
need to deploy and effectively manage storage:
Helpdesk support ensures end-user services remain consistency available with proven 99.9997% uptime.
Advanced capacity saving features further reduce storage costs, and increase capacity utilization by as much as 2.5x.
Built-in Data Protection
Efficient snapshots and data replication protect against accidental and catastrophic data loss using minimal capacity and network overhead.
Reduced data center footprint dramatically cuts data centerfootprint, power and cooling costs.
InfoSight™ Predictive Analytics
InfoSight monitors arrays to predict and prevent problems — and offer remedies — before they cause disruption. Infosight predicts, plans, and tracks storage usage and performance to maintain service levels and provide detailed reporting.
People generally like Nimble Storage…they really do. They see the WebEx presentation and they’re immediately sold on the hybrid flash solution and its architecture.
But let’s be honest: Nimble Storage isn’t the cheapest solution out there. For many years now, I.T. professionals have become used to quantifying their need for purchasing storage through a “Cost per TB” model. Well, this is a very good model to use for SANs utilizing hard disk drives (HDD). But when it comes to SSD or flash-based systems (or even for hybrid systems, for that matter), this changes the paradigm of how to quantify (and justify) the cost of a flash-based or hybrid system altogether.
So, if you’re an I.T. professional who handles or oversees the storage portion of your network, it might prove productive to ask these questions (based on some questions posed by a storage colleague of mine) as you plan out your storage strategy:
Storage Administrator / IT Administrator / Network Administrator
- Where are you seeing storage latency within your network?
- Is this latency impacting the performance of some of your more data-intensive applications (VDI, SQL, Exchange, Oracle, etc.)?
- What is the current IOPS limit of your SAN?
- If your SAN cannot meet your needed IOPS limit needed for these applications, where do you need it to be in order to meet demand?
- How often are you having to troubleshoot these applications because of low IOPS performance?
C-Level Manager / Administrator / Network Manager
- Think Business Case and ROI (of course, you already know this…)
- Speed isn’t always important, but for certain applications it does – where are these areas you feel the need for speed?
- Would revenue increase if you were to increase this speed in your storage network?
- If your environment measures transactions, how would revenue be impacted if you were able to increase the amount of transactions by 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, etc…?
Director / VP / CIO / CTO
- You have a fixed budget amount for storage each year: What if you could upgrade the performance of your database applications (Oracle, DB2, Exchange, SQL) with just the budget you have?
- Have you considered the benefits and tax advantages of leasing / financing new storage purchases?
The bottom-line is that organizations need to think of flash and hybrid storage systems as solutions that will help increase the performance of their network and applications which, in turn, will increase the profitability of your organization. Move away from that “Cost per TB” model. That doesn’t work for SSD and flash. Nimble pricing might seem a bit expensive at first, but after you build that business case you’ll never go back to the “Cost per TB” model again.
We are also seeing a trend toward “service level pricing” for many of the large storage vendors; pay for what you use. More on that later.
There are several Nimble Storage MSRP Price Lists floating around. The following Pricing chart is outdated but may still help with budgeting.
Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash
The Nimble Storage Adaptive Flash platform provides enterprise IT organizations a single architectural approach to dynamically tune storage resources to the needs of demanding workloads. Adaptive Flash is based on CASL™, Nimble Storage’s patented Cache-Accelerated Sequential Layout architecture, and InfoSight™, the company’s automated cloud-based management and support system. CASL allows performance and capacity to be scaled seamlessly and independently to accommodate efficient data center growth. InfoSight ensures flash will be deployed intelligently to satisfy the fluctuating requirements of enterprise applications, eliminating the wasteful overprovisioning of storage resources.
Adaptive Flash can:
- Provide multiple service levels to eliminate storage silos with a single architecture for all applications
- Grow seamlessly by scaling compute, cache, or capacity independently and non-disruptively
- Minimize risk with integrated SmartSnap snapshots and consistent backups, SmartSecure encryption, and efficient SmartReplicate disaster recovery
- Improve IT productivity with push-button deployment and the proactive, analytics-based support of InfoSight
After years of selling hybrid storage arrays, Nimble Storage has entered the All-Flash sector going head to head with Tegile, Pure Storage and other.
Nimble in the past has sucessfully sold hybrid arrays that mix solid-state drives (SSDs) with mostly hard disk drives. There are four Nimble all-flash models that vary in capacity and performance. The flagship AF9000 scales to 553 TB of raw storage in a 4U array, with two 4U expansion shelves. The midrange AF7000 scales to 323 TB of raw capacity, with two expansion shelves. The AF5000 and entry-level AF3000 hold one expansion shelf apiece. The AF5000 scales to 184 TB, and the AF3000 scales to 92 TB of raw capacity.
Nimble claimed a mixed read-write performance ranging from 50,000 IOPS on the AF3000 to 300,000 IOPS on the AF9000, and up to 1.2 million IOPS per four-node AF9000 cluster.
Nimble customers can scale up to four AF arrays and manage them as a unified cluster. Nimble presumes 5:1 data reduction with its proprietary data compression and deduplication that boosts effective capacity to 2 PB per 12U configuration, and up to 8.2 PB per four-node AF9000 cluster.
The all-flash systems support Fibre Channel and iSCSI block storage. Nimble dubbed this all-flash system the Predictive Flash Platform, which uses the same cloud-based InfoSight Predictive Analytics as the Nimble Adaptive Flash hybrid arrays.
Nimble all-flash arrays use Samsung Electronics’ PM863 Series SSDs, ranging from 240 GB to 3.84 TB capacities. PM863 uses Samsung Vertical NAND flash technology. Nimble operating system (OS) software provides triple-parity RAID to withstand three simultaneous drive failures per AF array without data loss.
Nimble Storage all flash costs and pricing are just starting to become available.
There’s money in SAN complexity…and it’s YOURS!
Have you ever tried to decipher a SAN pricing proposal from one of the “big” guys? There are more part numbers than I would expect when building the space shuttle. It is not enough to have the basic hardware broken down into dozens of pieces but then you have to select a dizzying array of software licensing options for both the array and any hosts using array features.
Here’s a sample SKU list from a major NAS/SAN vendor for a simple storage array:
FAS6200HA-IB-BASE-1 GF-RAS56200HA,IB,1B CF,OS,R5 2
X70015A-ESH2-R5-C DS14MK2 SHLF, ACPS,14x144GB,15K,HDD 5
X6524-R6-C CBL, 2M, Optical, Pair, LC/C,-C,R6 2
X6530-R6-C CBL,0.5M,PATCH,FC SFPTO SFP-C,R6 6
X1941A-R6-C CBL,5M,CLUSTER4X,CU-C,R6 2
X871A-R6-C 20A Storace Equipment Cabinet,-C,R6 1
X875A-R6-C 20A PWR CORD (4),CABINET, NEMA-S,R6 1
X800-42U-R6-C Cabinet Component Power Cable, R6 14
X5517-R6-C Storage cabinet, Rail Set,42U,-C,R6 1
X6529-R6-C SFP, Optical, Pair, LC/LC, -6, R6 4
X8773-R6-C Multiple Product Tie-Down Bracket,- 2
DOC-3XXX-C Documents, 3XXX,-C 1
Software (Base Unit)
SW-T4C-CIFS-C CIFS CIFS Software, T4C-C 2
SW-T4C-ISCSI-C iSCSI iSCSI Software, T4C-C 2
SW-T4C-NFS-C NFS NFS Software, T4C-C 2
SW-T4C-SRESTORE-C SnapRestore Software,T4C,-C 2
SW-T4C-SME-C SnapManager Software, Exchange, T4C 2
SW-T4C-SMSVS-C SnapMirro-SnapVault Software Bndl, 2
Software (Host Side)
SW-SDR-WIN SnapDrive, Windows 10
SW-SSP-SDR-WINDOW SW Subs SnapDrive for Windows 3.0 10
SW-SMBR-1000PK Single Mbox Recovery, 1000pk 1
SW-SSPVN-SMBR-1000PKendor SW Sub SMBR, 1000pk 1
SW-SDR-SOL-TIER1 SnapDrive, Solaris, Tier 1 10
SW-SSP-SDR-SOL-TIER1SW Subs, SDR Solaris Support, Tier 10
SW-SDU-CPU SW, SnapDrive UNIX, CPU 5
SW-SMO-CPU SW, SnapManager Oracle, CPU 5
SW-SSP-SMO-CPU SW, SUB, SnapManager Oracle 5
Services and Support
CS-S-INST Initial Installation-DS14 1
CS-A SupportEdge Standard-FAS270 Mths: 3 2
All we wanted was a high-performing storage array. Instead, we got a dissertation on what the sales person thinks we need. Notice that this proposal contains base hardware, base software, host software, installation services and support. Although this would be considered a “simple” configuration, it is still complex and a potential customer would be hesitant to make any changes or delete any proposed features.
What’s worse is if the customer proceeds with this proposal thinking they have “covered all their bases” for the future. However, since many projects increase in complexity over time, new features may be needed but this a la carte model requires the customer to re-budget and purchase additional options in the future…more money.
Nimble Storage’s approach eliminates complexity
Compare this nightmare configuration with how Nimble Storage sells their arrays. Nimble Storage has a single part number for everything including every option. Here is an Nimble Storage configuration for a fault-tolerant (no single point of failure) 6TB system with SAS drives.
|CS260 24TB||CS260 24TB Usable (24-48TB with compression)
Hardware: (4) 320GB SSD, (12) 3TB SATA, Dual Ctlrs, (6) 1GbE Active Ports
Software: Includes array and all software features: Dynamic caching, Write-Optimized Data Layout, Universal Compression, Thin Provisioning, Instant Snapshot and Recovery, Efficient Replication, Zero-Copy Clones.
I like to call this the single most important business feature of Nimble Storage; all inclusive pricing. Everything you will need, now and in the future, is included at no additional charge. When you install the unit and fire up the GUI you will notice that there are no features “greyed out”. This is fantastic for projects that evolve because when you need a feature, say Offsite Replication, its available. Simply configure it!
Want to save money? Consider eliminating complexity.
Nimble Storage’s recipe for converging primary and backup storage is simple and has two parts.
1. Capacity optimization: Storing backups for 30–90 days needs lots of capacity. In a system not designed to store backups, they can easily use 10–20x the space used in primary storage. Nimble handles this problem as follows:
- Store all data on high-capacity disk drives. These disks have over 3x the capacity and 1/6x the cost per GB of high-performance disks. They also have only 1/3x the performance of high-performance disks, but we deal with that separately. (The high-capacity disks have often been called SATA disks, but that is quickly becoming a misnomer as high-capacity SAS drives enter the market.)
- Use data reduction techniques such as compression and block sharing. These techniques can reduce the space used by backups by 10–20x. Block sharing can take many forms, e.g., snapshots and dedupe, and it is important to pick judiciously based on the context. I will write further about this in the next article.
2. Performance optimization: Especially random IO performance. Common business applications such as Exchange and SQL Server generate lots of random IO. Hard disks are generally bad at random IO. High-capacity disks are particularly bad. We use two techniques that more than make up for this slowness:
- Accelerate random reads using flash as a large cache. Most storage vendors have a story around using flash. However, flash has some peculiar characteristics, and how a system uses flash is more important than whether it uses flash. In particular, flash is not a performance cure-all; e.g., it might not be cost effective in accelerating random writes.
- Accelerate random writes by sequentializing them on disk. This technology has been known for some time as log-structured file systems, but it has become more interesting recently because of new enabling technologies.
Nimble Introduces Scale-to-Fit Storage
Groundbreaking Scaling Paradigm Allows Enterprises to Individually Scale Performance and Capacity at the Lowest Incremental Cost to Accommodate the Requirements of Diverse Workloads and Applications
According to Nimble, today’s scale-up storage architectures are inflexible, requiring upfront forecasting of performance needs over an array’s three-to-five-year lifespan and creating separate storage silos that complicate management. Scale-out cluster solutions provide upfront flexibility, but tie performance and capacity together, requiring customers to incur higher incremental costs every time they add a storage node.
Nimble Storage addresses these challenges by allowing customers to purchase exactly what they need up front and by providing the industry’s most flexible scaling options. Customers can thus protect their existing investments while growing their storage at the lowest incremental cost without downtime as their needs evolve. Nimble Storage offers three flexible paths for scaling:
(1) Scale capacity only: a new line of ES-Series storage expansion shelves allows customers who do not require additional performance to add capacity at the lowest incremental cost without downtime.
(2) Scale performance only: a new line of extreme-performance CS400 series arrays is ideal for customers running performance-intensive applications such as OLTP and VDI. Existing CS200 series array controllers can be nondisruptively upgraded to CS400 arrays without downtime. Customers can also upgrade to higher-capacity flash SSDs without downtime to accommodate workloads with larger active data sets.
(3) Scale capacity and performance: a powerful new operating system upgrade, Nimble OS 2.0, allows customers to cluster arrays together, providing linear scaling of both capacity and performance, as well as unified management. Nimble scale-out clustering allows users to grow or shrink their storage environments seamlessly, and to easily perform data migrations and upgrades, all without downtime.
Enterprises can mix and match these approaches to scale to hundreds of terabytes and hundreds of thousands of IOPS in a single storage cluster.
“Traditional scale-up systems and more modern scale-out systems are rooted in an era when storage capacity and storage performance were tethered together,” said Suresh Vasudevan, CEO of Nimble Storage. “Our scale-to-fit architecture delivers an unparalleled ability to independently scale the controller performance, cache capacity or storage capacity of any node while also allowing multiple nodes to become part of a cluster. Starting with a small footprint, our customers can continually and nondisruptively scale and evolve their infrastructure in small, granular increments across the widest range of workloads.”
Nimble’s scale-to-fit technology is built on the groundbreaking Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout Architecture (CASL). CASL is architected from the ground up to leverage flash and high-capacity disk to deliver affordable performance and capacity. In addition, CASL delivers highly efficient snapshots and WAN-efficient replication, dramatically simplifying backups and disaster recovery. Operation of the arrays is simplified across their lifecycle through deep application integration as well as proactive wellness and management.
“Enterprise storage requirements are continually and rapidly in flux,” said Roger Cox, research vice president at Gartner. “Consolidation of diverse workloads means that higher demands are placed on storage. Because most enterprises can’t predict their storage requirements even one year down the road, they need assurance of elastic performance and capacity in their storage platforms.”
Powerful scale-out clustering with Nimble Storage allows enterprises to size their storage to current requirements, eliminate the need to forecast future requirements and eliminate storage silos:
Scale performance and capacity linearly with the seamless addition of new arrays
Automatically “stripe” storage volumes across multiple arrays in a cluster
Create storage pools in a cluster to segment applications and workloads on different arrays
Migrate data nondisruptively across pools in a cluster
Add arrays to a cluster or remove them with full, uninterrupted data access. The Nimble operating system automatically redistributes data across arrays in the cluster.
Furthermore, scale out is compatible with all existing and new Nimble Storage arrays, and any arrays can be mixed and matched within a scale-out cluster. Nimble makes scale out available at no cost to all customers with current service and support contracts.
“With the expansion of our operations, it was imperative that we build a storage architecture that could scale performance and capacity to accommodate staff additions, significant growth in our data and a range of new applications, including VDI,” said Derek Schostag, systems engineer, Lindquist & Vennum P.L.L.P, a business-oriented general-practice law firm. “With Nimble Storage we have achieved that objective, and we’re extremely confident of investment protection, even for scenarios that we can’t envision today. No other storage provider can give us that confidence.”
CS400 Series Extreme-Performance Arrays
Nimble’s new extreme-performance CS400 arrays are designed to host an enterprise’s most demanding applications and workloads, supporting hundreds of virtual machines or thousands of VDI users on each array.
“Nimble’s CS400 provides a single storage server that can meet the requirements of virtualization on a large scale, allowing enterprises to support their core applications, workloads and users, while also providing room to grow,” said Raj Mallempati, director of product marketing, VMware. “End users using VMware View™ solutions are looking for uncompromising performance at scale. Nimble CS400 and VMware View provide a high-performance, scalable desktop-virtualization solution that can meet the ever-growing capacity requirements of enterprise users.”