Nimble Storage-Product and Technology Overview

Product and Technology Overview

Nimble Storage has created the industry’s first flash-optimized storage engineered from the ground up for maximum efficiency. Nimble Storage solutions integrate the exceptional performance of flash with the favorable economics of high-capacity hard disk drives—making it ideal for storing and protecting data for all of your critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, server virtualization, and VDI.

Nimble Storage is built on the patented Cache Accelerated Sequential
Layout (CASL™) architecture and delivers:

  • Accelerated performance for higher throughput/IOPS and sub-millisecond lateness
  • Higher storage efficiency—reducing the storage footprint needed by 30 to 75 percent
  • Non-disruptive scaling-to-fit changing application needs through increased performance, or capacity, or both
  • Maximized data and storage availability with integrated data protection and disaster recovery
  • Simplified storage management and reduced day-to-day operational overhead.

Nimble kept proving that it could exceed any performance targets we had ever achieved. Today, it is our one-stop storage shop. We have moved our entire storage operations to Nimble Storage.“Ken Chipper, Operations Manager, Graniterock

Products

All Flash Arrays

Nimble Storage’s AF-Series arrays utilize flash performance as well as Info Sight Predictive Analytics. The AF-Series has product lines for data centers with different configurations based on the desired workload. The product lines are AF1000, AF3000, AF5000, AF7000, and AF9000.

Adaptive Flash Arrays

The Nimble CS-Series iSCSI and Fibre Channel storage array has 4 product lines for data centers available in each CS-Series. The product lines are CS200, CS300, CS500, and CS700 and combine both HDDs with SSDs in a hybrid fashion. In August, 2016, Nimble Storage updated their CS-Series arrays to the following: CS1000/H, CS3000, CS5000, and CS7000. Nimble Storage also provides an All-Flash Shelf to add to CS-Series arrays.

Secondary Flash Arrays

The Secondary Flash Array was the first new Nimble product to be launched post merger with HEP. It is a hybrid system based around the standard Nimble architecture but with enhanced deduce. The product is intended as a target for backups[20]

Smart Stack reference architectures

Nimble Storage provides Smart Stack integrated infrastructure technology for Cisco Systems. Jointly developed by Cisco and Nimble Storage, these Smart Stack integrates compute, network, and storage resources. Smart Stack provides Cisco Validated Designs and reference architectures that address the following workloads: desktop virtualization (or VDI), server virtualization and cloud computing, business-critical applications, Oracle database and applications, and SAP SHANA.[14]

Technology

NimbleOS

NimbleOS is Nimble’s operating system heavily dependent on a patented file-system architecture, cache accelerated sequential layout (CASL). NimbleOS includes: flexible flash scaling, adaptive flash service levels, dynamic flash-based read caching, write-optimized data layout, inline compression, scale-to-fit flexibility, scale out, snapshots and integrated data protection, efficient replication, reduplication, and zero-copy clones.

Info Sight Predictive Analytics

Info-sight is Nimble Storage’s storage management and predictive analytics portal. It is designed to help with storage resource management as well as customer support.

Info Sight consists of:

  • The Info Sight Engine: a data collection and analysis engine composed of data analytics, system modeling capabilities, and predictive algorithms.
  • The Info Sight Portal: a secure online portal which serves as a window into the Info Sight Engine.
  • Proactive Wellness: proactive alerts for system health, performance, and protection gaps.

Unified Flash Fabric

Nimble Storage’s Unified Flash Fabric unifies Nimble’s All Flash and Adaptive Flash arrays into a single consolidation architecture with common data services. This architecture is built upon existing CASL[22][ architecture and Info Sight.

Also Read:Nimble storage

5 Reasons to Choose Nimble for Your Hybrid IT

  1. Flexibility and Hybrid Storage. When HPE purchased Nimble Storage, they didn’t just acquire all-flash tech. Part of the acquisition also included Nimble hybrid storage, a predictive hybrid flash array. By using predictive analytics combined with hybrid flash performance, scalability, and availability, the Nimble Adaptive Flash array operates at an all-flash service level and storage system. It also has the ability to balance high performance at an “auto flash” service level while at the same time operating at a “minimal flash” service level, which gives your enterprise better optimization.
  1. No Disruptions as You Scale and Grow. One of the beautiful aspects of Nimble architecture is its ability to scale-up seamlessly to grow the performance and capacity of an array without putting a halt on your enterprise. Attaching additional storage shelves allows Nimble to grow the capacity of a running system, while upgrades to the array’s controller modules scale the overall performance. Nimble also has the ability to scale-out in one managed cluster without disrupting processes. It joins together up to four arrays to build a scale-out cluster, which achieves both linear performance and capacity scaling.
  1. Backup and Secondary Workloads. If your enterprise is looking for a solution that allows you to put your backup data to use, Nimble provides you that option. As a single device that is optimized for secondary storage tasks such as backup and disaster recovery, its flash performance also allows you to do real work with the secondary data sets. The solution instantly backs up and recovers data from any primary storage, and it saves time and space with always-on duplication. Flash performance also allows data protection administrators to perform instant restores, validate backups and more.
  1. Data Security and Disaster Recovery. With more data being used with less infrastructure, thanks to the ability to manage large workloads with optimized consolidation, it is extremely important secure that data from external threats. HP’s ability to mitigate risk in a hybrid IT environment is a major strength of its flash storage offerings. With its integrated data protection, risk is minimized in a hybrid IT environment through fully redundant hardware architecture and by using the speed of flash to protect workloads in case of a disaster.
  1. Cloud Integration. Nimble Storage offers a range of “Predictive Flash” storage which offers simplicity and reliable performance, as well as cloud Essentially, it serves as a “flash fabric” across primary flash, secondary flash, and multi-cloud storage. The physical systems, together with public cloud storage service, provides a convenient way to establish and run the flexible data storage required by hybrid IT. This allows a free flow of data between onsite arrays and the cloud.

Pros

  • HP Nimble is basically an all in one SAN with SSD cache or in some cases fully SSD based however the thing it does the best is its front end GUI and user management capability making it easy for anyone to ramp up on managing it quickly.
  • The Nimble SAN is also very easily managed when it comes to hardware management. Outside of some major internal parts such as the mainboard, almost everything in the system is duplicated so single failures never bring the system down. Power supplies and drives are easily swapped out.
  • Nimble has incredibly capable and easily accessible support that is available 24/7.
  • The price point on Nimble, though higher than piecing together a home made SAN out of spare Windows Servers, is perfect even for some SMB’s.

cons

  • he add on and upgrade parts for the system are a bit overpriced and if you buy your own third party they may try to not honor their warranty.
  • Setting up redundant Nimble boxes is not as well documented as it could be.
  • They are seeming to stop supporting some older devices a bit faster than they used too ALA Microsoft Windows and the way they are not handling version 10 though not as extreme.

Conclusion

This solution is efficient in more than one way. Not only is it high performing, but it is also more compact and fits better in our storage arrays than equipment from other storage providers. This helps out with space in the data center. We have experienced an increase in performance of ten to fifteen percent. This product has proven itself to be very reliable and we’re looking forward to where it’s going to take us in the future. Everything that they’ve told us it’s going to do, it has done and exceeded. The biggest lesson that I have learned is not to run at any solution that is already out there. Really dive into what it is that you need.

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