Nimble Storage is looking to shake up the enterprise storage market with an update to its hybrid SSD-and-disk architecture that makes it simpler for customers to add capacity as required, scaling out by clustering together nodes or boosting performance by adding extra flash and CPUs to each node array.
Nimble, which has been in the market for only a couple of years, has already seen some success with its iSCSI storage area network (SAN) kit that uses flash SSDs to cache disk-based storage. It has integrated backup capability based on snapshots as a standard feature of its operating system.
Now, with the release of Nimble OS 2.0, the firm is introducing a new architecture that it calls "scale to fit", which offers customers the flexibility to scale their storage in both performance and capacity as they require.
"This is a brand new set of clustering capabilities that is brought to bear in Nimble OS v2.0 that allows our customers to mix and match any set of Nimble arrays together and form a scale-out cluster that can be managed as if it is a single large system," Nimble vice president of marketing Dan Leary told V3.
This capability delivers a linear improvement in both performance and capacity, while avoiding the pitfalls of traditional SAN storage designs that can lead to separate storage silos if the user needs to expand beyond the capacity of an individual array, Leary claimed.
However, Nimble has also announced availability of new external storage shelf options that allow customers to add additional storage capacity to nodes without incurring the cost of buying a whole new controller, the firm said.
"Many of our customers told us they have plenty of performance headroom, and they are looking for the lowest cost way to add incremental capacity," explained Leary.
But if customers ever find that performance is an issue, if they are supporting lots of virtual desktops in their datacentre, for example, Nimble now enables them to upgrade the controller in an array on-the-fly with no disruption to operations.
"They can just pull out the controller from an existing array and replace it with an Extreme Performance controller with double or triple the performance, and protect their investment in the rest of the system," Leary said.
Customers can similarly upgrade the SSDs in each Nimble array that are used as a cache to quickly serve up the most active data.
"When you combine all this together, what you find is that our customers can start by purchasing whatever they need today for the workloads they are running now, and can grow and scale it at the lowest possible cost to whatever their future requirements are," Leary claimed.
All Nimble customers on a service and support contract will be able to upgrade to Nimble OS 2.0 and take advantage of the new features at no extra cost, once it is delivered in the fourth quarter of this year.
The new expansion shelf line and Extreme Performance controller hardware is set to ship later in this quarter, according to the firm.
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