No man is an island, said the famous English poet John Donne, and no storage product is an island either. Over the last couple of years, there has been growing interest in pre-validated vertical stacks of application, server, hypervisor, networking and storage. Industry analysts like Wikibon have in fact predicted that over half of the entire infrastructure consumed would move towards pre-validated reference architectures, rather than as independently procured servers, storage and networking products.
Companies such as HP, Dell and IBM have responded to this by essentially repositioning their portfolio of existing products as converged infrastructure. I fundamentally do not believe that customers will be willing to sacrifice best of breed technologies and embrace inferior products, just because they are packaged into integrated infrastructure offerings that come from a single vendor. There is a reason why EMC and NetApp have gained share in storage, and why Cisco has maintained a dominant share in networking.
Having said that, I have encountered numerous customers over the last years that have felt palpable pain stemming from having to integrate best-of-breed servers, hypervisor, networking and storage. Solutions such as Flexpod and VCE have been more successful than single vendor solutions – true reference architectures that address both problems – deliver best-of-breed products while also relieving the customer from having to integrate best-of-breed products from multiple vendors.
Today, we are proud and excited to announce the Nimble SmartStack. The first SmartStack offering is targeted at VDI workloads, working closely with VMware and Cisco to produce an integrated solution that has been tested for interoperability, performance and fast deployment, and has been endorsed by all three companies. Several months ago, we announced the certification of our storage platform as part of the VMware rapid desktop program. Today, we are proud to be among a small number of storage platforms that are UCS certified. There are three major benefits from the SmartStack solution:
- Economically-Viable, Converged Infrastructure Solution for Mid-Sized Enterprises. Nimble was able to bring dramatic economic benefits through substantially higher performance, lower cost of capacity, dramatically better business continuity and operational simplicity to a mid-sized Enterprise – customers that were otherwise unable to deploy VDI projects because the cost of a pre-integrated converged infrastructure stack was prohibitively expensive.
- Best-of-Breed Flash-Optimized Storage, Available as Converged Infrastructure. The Nimble architecture is unparalleled in its ability to leverage flash for high performance along with low-cost HDDs for low cost of capacity. What further distinguishes our approach and makes us particularly well suited for workloads such as VDI is that our scale-to-fit architecture (see white paper ») allows us to be extremely flexible – we can increase the ratio of flash within our system when workloads such as VDI need higher performance or lower the ratio of flash when workload such as file services need greater capacity – thus spanning an extremely broad range of workloads.
- Channel Leverage. Over the last two years, we have built a rapidly growing base of over 300 channel partners, most of whom were already Cisco partners and VMware partners. Our SmartStack approach allows us to leverage that synergy and rapidly bring the solution to market.
Our partnerships with the ecosystem vendors continue to flourish which means more SmartStack solutions and fewer headaches and more value for end customers. Stay tuned for more on this front.