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Cloud Field Day 2 Preview: HPE Nimble Storage

Cloud Field Day 2, part of the Tech Field Day family of events is happening in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, from 26-28 July and I’m super excited to be invited as a delegate.

We are hearing from a number of companies about how they cloud!

Nimble Storage is a storage company with lofty goals of “giving users the fastest, most reliable access to data – on-premise and in the cloud”. The premise is their wording, certainly not mine, really should be premises, Nimble!

Nimble has an interesting Tech Field Day history as it announced its original product, the CS200 hybrid array at Tech Field Day 3 in Seattle in 2010. Fast forward to March 2017 when Nimble was purchased by HPE for just over $1 Billion.

HPE Land

We haven’t heard anything from Nimble since the acquisition so it will be very interesting to hear what HPE has in store. During the purchase HPE said Nimble was a complement to its mid to high end 3PAR flash solutions. HPE also wanted to extend Nimble’s InfoSight predictive analytics software across the rest of HPE’s storage portfolio. HPE was planning on announcing combined HPE and Nimble storage solutions in late 2017 so perhaps we are the lucky lot to hear first what HPE and Nimble have in store.

I’d love to hear how Nimble fits in with the rest of HPE’s storage portfolio and strategy. HPE has 3PAR for the mid to high end, MSA and StoreVirtual for smaller, cost concious sites, Nimble and also SimpliVity which is a hyper-converged offering it purchased just before snapping up Nimble.

EMC (now DellEMC) has always been known to have a very broad storage product portfolio. EMC could always sell you something for what you needed even if some products overlapped. Is HPE going the same route or will it have more clearly delineated offerings.

CumuloNimble

This is Cloud Field Day, not Storage Field Day so I’m most interested in how Nimble and “cloud” come together. Nimble’s Infosight predictive analytics is a cloud based tool which uses machine learning to let you know what’s wrong before it becomes a problem.

Nimble also has Cloud Volumes which is an interesting cloud storage platform. Nimble planned on running its own block based storage cloud using its flash arrays for much higher availability than AWS EBS or Azure Disks could provide with block storage. These would be geographically close to AWS and Azure regions (U.S. initially) so you could connect your AWS and Azure instances to Nimble with better storage SLAs than the public cloud’s native offerings. It was in beta and the provisioning process would be connecting to Nimble’s Cloud Volumes web portal, provisioning a volume, choosing what IOPS and capacity you want and whether you need things like replication, snapshots, encryption etc. It would immediately be available to connect to your AWS/Azure instance. As the storage is separate from both AWS and Azure you could detach it from an AWS VM and attach it to an Azure VM without moving any data around, I can see the use in that. You would also have had the same performance analytics with InfoSight that you are likely using on-prem.

Building a storage cloud is quite an expensive investment and you are taking on AWS and Azure and saying you can do block storage better forever. I wonder whether HPE will continue this plan, it is certainly bold!

Looking forward to hear more about the new HPE Nimble and how cloudy it has become. I’m going to be asking whether we’re just seeing a traditional infrastructure company try to stay relevant in a cloud world or is there plenty more.

HPE has had a horrific cloud history. For a company that started Silicon Valley, it hasn’t worked out how to cloud, sinking $billions into varied adventures mounting to nothing. Is it now just a low margin box shifter? What can HPE tell us about how it is doing cloud?

Gestalt IT is paying for travel, accommodation and things to eat to attend Cloud Field Day but isn’t paying a penny for me to write anything good or bad about anyone.

Categories: CFD2, Cloud, Storage, Tech Field Day Tags: , , ,
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