Nimble Storage – Heir to the Throne of the SME?

By | December 1, 2014

I’m seriously thinking the recent announcement that Nimble Storage will support Fibre Channel might herald the birth of a new major primary storage player. And I seriously mean a major player… right up there with EMC, NetApp, HDS, HP…

How come? Isn’t the FC market flat?

Well, may be. But it’s still a huge-old market. And up until now it’s been one that Nimble simply doesn’t compete in. And so far, that’s been a good thing…………. well… at least for the likes of EMC, HP and HDS.

Nimble Storage – A Proper Storage Company

In my opinion, Nimble Storage are a proper storage company. But what do I mean by proper storage company?

Well…… it’s my opinion that they’re past being a risky start-up. They really look like they’ve got serious intentions of sticking around and making a go of it. They’ve got good tech and good people. And they’ve got a healthy growing install base.

Oh, and any time I write or tweet anything remotely critical of Nimble, I get fanboys leaping to their defence. And while I’m not a big *fan* of the fanboy thing, it shows that they have a pretty satisfied and loyal customer base. Not to mention the fact that a ton of their customers seem to trust the tech enough to upgrade it during prime-time business hours….

What Will This Mean?

The two things that immediately spring to mind are –

First up, this’ll open up a ton of doors for Nimble. I’ve worked at plenty of shops in the past that wouldn’t entertain the likes of Nimble purely because they didn’t have a Fibre Channel play. Well they’ve got that now. My only major question that I’m not quite sold on is scalability.

Second up, this isn’t good news for the likes of EMC, HP, HDS, Dell etc. Especially in the SME space.  I think the really big enterprise shops still have a cultural problem where they feel safe (wrongly IMO) buying from the traditional safe houses of EMC, IBM, HDS etc. But outside of the really big enterprises, and definitely the SMB market, folks aren’t so scared of building on top of newer and potentially more innovative tech. So while I think Nimble have already made inroads into NetApp accounts, they’ve now got the missing piece that will allow them to start eating into EMC, HP, HDS accounts…


I am seriously wondering whether this might be the start of something huge for Nimble – kinda like the caterpillar coming out of the cocoon. This could be of 3PAR proportions.

Speaking of 3PAR…… while Nimble have been adding FC, last I looked 3PAR still doesn’t do proper multi-protocol…..

7 thoughts on “Nimble Storage – Heir to the Throne of the SME?

  1. JR

    I hope you’re right Nigel. After getting fed up with our existing vendor’s price gouging for support (NetApp, I’m looking at you), we reviewed the storage market for alternatives, and Nimble won. The technology seems elegant and the price is good.

    We’re awaiting delivery of a CS300, but I’m hopeful that it’ll work very well for our relatively small (250-300VM) environment.

  2. Pingback: Nimble Storage – Heir to the Throne of the SME? - Tech Field Day

  3. unifiedwhat

    I almost died laughing today with HP’s article bashing other vendors for referring to them as “pseudo unified storage”.. Common guys, until yesterday you called “converged” to your 3par-Windows Storage server head lame file solution and today you guys are the only ones doing proper unified storage, ohh, and calling “bolted emulated block” to netapp WAFL just shows how hard is for they to understand a simple technology. I feel sorry for the former 3PAR brains who ran away from this company after HP takeout, they were doing something really nice. Sorry to leave this here Nigel but HP is not approving free thoughts in they blog.

  4. Mark Burgess

    Some of the claims are laughable, but with each vendor continually trying to out do one another in the war of words (or marketing) , the appearance of doing something better or different is still heralded as something marvelous. Highlighting whats good about what’s already out there isn’t seen as being as glamorous – perception is still crucial when making purchasing decisions, something I’ve been discussing over at: – I’d welcome the community’s views on such an established storage player.

  5. Julia Frohwein

    Really interesting post thanks. As a previous poster wrote, it can be hard to filter out the ‘marketing speak’ when researching Enterprise level products. Therefore, you might find it useful to see real user reviews (with no vendor interference) of Nimble Storage, NetApp, Tintri and all the other top Flash Array Storage solutions.

    As an example, this VP Information Systems has “seen a huge improvement in processing times and coming from a traditional SAN over to the HPE 3PAR all flash solution, we saw about a 90% reduction in the processing time to some of the batch processors that we were running, which for us is very, very huge. But I would like to see a little bit more of automated reporting. ” To read the rest of his review, plus explore other reviews of solutions in this category click here:

    Hope this is helpful.

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