In the past we at have been great fans of Dell EqualLogic storage solutions for it’s simplicity and with our current employer we have learned the advantages of NetApp storage systems and it’s completeness. But why should we have to choose? Why can’t we just combine the ease of use and licensing model from EqualLogic with the high performance file system and feature set of NetApp? Well, now you can!

Recently we were introduced to Nimble Storage, a flash-enabled hybrid storage solution that combines fast SSD disks with high capacity SATA disks.

Their own CASL (Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout) file system, combined with compression and clever dynamic caching algorithms, result in a high performance storage system that use simple SATA disks. The CASL FS deploys SSD disks as a read cache to enhance read performance and it uses a write optimized data layout (to turn random writes into sequential writes, much like NetApp’s WAFL does) combined with inline compression to improve write performance.


Nimble already has a broad range of storage solutions starting with the C210 with 53TB max RAW capacity up to the CS260 with 171TB RAW capacity. But this week Nimble has released a few new products which further expand the Nimble Storage solution product range.

Nimble introduced their all new “scale-to-fit” storage solutions which consists of the CS400 storage arrays, the ES Series expansion shelves and the new Nimble OS 2.0 operating system. With traditional storage solutions the performance and capacity is directly related, resulting in large capacity storage solution which are IOPS bound. Nimble found a solution for this.


The new Nimble scale-to-fit storage is a good alternative for traditional scale-up storage systems which are less flexible. With traditional scale-up a storage array is expanded with extra disk shelves. The problems is that the controllers need to be scaled to meet the performance- or capacity demands for the next 3 to 5 years.

Another option is to scale-out, where current storage systems are clustered with  new controllers and disk shelves which act as one logical storage system. When you only need storage capacity, this is a waste of controllers.

With the new Nimble “scale-to-fit” solutions, you can now scale both ways. When you need extra capacity, you just add extra disk shelves and when you need extra performance, you add extra controllers. This way you can scale for Terabytes or IOPS.

Scale-out for added performance
If you want storage performance, Nimble offers the CS400-series storage arrays that have more flash storage capacity, up to 2,4TB. Therefore the CS400 arrays are suitable for high performance applications like OnLine Transaction Processing (OLTP), SQL Server and VDI solutions.

Customers who are already using a CS200-series storage array can upgrade to a CS400 array without downtime. Customers can also upgrade to higher capacity SSD drives without downtime.

Scale-up for added capacity
If you want extra storage capacity Nimble has introduced the ES-series storage expansion shelves. ES stands for Expansion Shelve which allows users to add storage capacity without downtime. The ES expansion shelves range from 15TB to 45 TB and can contain 160GB up to 600GB SSD storage.


Nimble OS 2.0
The new Nimble OS 2.0 is what makes this all possible. The new operating system allows for updates, expansions and data migration without any downtime. The new operating system also allows a collection of Nimble CS arrays and ES expansion shelves as one logical storage array, very much like a Dell EqualLogic.


This results in the product portfolio for the CS-series as shown below:

and for the ES-series:

The new CS400 series arrays, the ES-Series expansion shelves and the flash expantion options are available in Q3 2012. Nimble OS 2 will be available in Q4 2012.

You can find more information here or on the Nimble Storage blog.

PS: It’s all VMware certified!