Nimble Storage Goes App-Centric, Now Supports Containers

CEO contends that by taking an app-centric approach, IT teams are better positioned to meet the service-level storage demands of the business.

Flash storage system provider Nimble Storage, engaged in a cutthroat market share battle with several other flash storage vendors, on Sept. 12 unveiled an upgrade of its feature set that optimizes its platform for fast and predictable application delivery.

Nimble's Predictive Flash platform enables IT to produce applications with service-level, quality of service guarantees and secure multitenancy across VMware, OpenStack, open-source KVM and—for the first time—Docker containers. Using app-centric management controls within its InfoSight Predictive Analytics, the company contends, enterprises can have more visibility and control of application performance.

Nimble's app-based Storage on Demand provides a cloudlike pricing model for an on-premises system in which enterprises pay only for the storage consumed by each application. This app-centric approach provides greater predictability and ease of management for applications across the enterprise, Nimble said.

'Infrastructure Exists Only for Applications'

"Infrastructure exists only to meet the demands of applications," Nimble's Ajay Singh, vice president of product management, said. "We recognize the need to bridge the gap between the application and storage owner. By taking an app-centric approach, IT teams are better positioned to meet the service-level demands of the business."

Nimble has long been focused on making storage faster and smarter than servers and virtual machines. This is how it has stepped up its market share fight against EMC's XtremIO, Pure Storage, Kaminario, Rubrik, Violin Memory and a host of others.

None of these companies has made it into the black yet, and they realize that the time is now to try to break away from the pack if at all possible.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company, which has gained more than 7,700 customers and was able to go public in December 2013 thanks to its high-performance hybrid flash-and-HDD systems, unveiled its first all-flash array, the Nimble AF-Series, last February. The company claims that this array is larger, faster and ultimately less expensive than everyone else's because it can hold up to 8 petabytes of storage, move it at up to 1.2 million IOPS and offer a lower cost-per-GB than competitors can provide.

Here are key data points in the Nimble announcement:

Quality of Service and Secure Multitenancy: To meet application service-level agreements (SLAs), Nimble enables customers to consolidate infrastructure and easily manage applications with predictable performance through secure multitenancy and QoS. Multitenant storage allows secure application management and isolation, while QoS prevents rogue workloads from impacting critical applications.

Application Delivery Model Options Now Include Docker Containers: Businesses want the flexibility to deliver applications using the framework of their choice without increased complexity. Nimble now supports native persistent storage for Docker containers. Nimble already delivers app-level granularity through VMware VVols and native support for OpenStack Clouds. The depth of the app-centric integration across these platforms—policy-based application provisioning, clones, snapshots, replication and encryption—is the core of modern application-delivery support.

App-Centric Management Through Predictive Analytics: Nimble Storage InfoSight VMvision gives customers clear visibility across the storage-to-VM infrastructure stack, the company said. VMvision allows organizations to automatically identify noisy VM neighbors by narrowing down the exact application that is draining resources from other workloads. Where traditional storage-based insights do not provide granular data for capacity planning and forecasting, VMvision provides IT with app-level capacity data for accurate storage planning.

App-Based Pricing: Nimble Storage on Demand ensures that users only pay for the application storage that they use, whether usage goes up or down. Now customers can consume storage based on application usage exactly as they do in a cloud environment. Based on a preset app-specific SLA, customers can pay for what they consume starting from 6.8 cents per GB per month for all-flash storage.

For more information on Nimble Predictive Flash platform, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...