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In a previous blog post we pointed out an excerpt from the Microsoft website on the importance of storage design in successful deployments of Microsoft Exchange 2010. It’s only fitting for us to point out—again—that the Nimble Storage CS-Series delivers on all the requirements that Microsoft wants IT to consider and more when deploying Exchange 2010 — performance, capacity, manageability, and cost—as we proudly announce our 40,000 mailbox Exchange 2010 Mailbox Resiliency Storage Solution using our 3U flash-optimized hybrid storage system.

The star of the benchmark is our recently announced  CS460-X2. It fits enough performance and capacity in to a compact 3U form factor to handle Jetstress workload in the ESRP 3.0 test. And the new CS400 series of controllers deliver the performance needed to keep all those mailboxes humming along just fine.


This result is double of what we previously announced with our CS240 back in April in the same form factor with the same number of disk drives (if you want to do the math that works out to 3,333 realistically sized mailboxes per disks).

So how does the CS460-X2 do it?

  1. It accelerates Exchange 2010 with faster access to data and speedy writes—thanks to its dynamic caching and write optimized data layout., which decouples array performance from the random write performance of disk drives. On average, systems in our install base measured sub-millisecond read and write latencies and can handle the rapidly changing IO patterns that Jetstress generates.
  2. It stores more mailboxes in a given amount of space–using universal in-line compression. A measurement of savings across all customers running Exchange 2010 in production showed an average compression rate of 1.8x.

This combination of high performance and efficient storage in a compact 3U form factor results in a storage solution that is on average 10x more efficient than other vendor’s reported results—definitely the biggest ESRP result reported in a small factor.

The CS-series’s unique integrated data protection with Microsoft VSS support ensures that all 40,000 mailboxes remain up and running during backup; thus eliminating the concept of backup windows and the need for separate back-up storage. This complements Exchange 2010 DAG functionality by taking consistent, efficient snapshots of their Exchange 2010 database and logs (RPO measured in months).

Nimble also recently announced integration with CommVault under their Intellisnap Connect Program. This means CommVault users can use Simpana to manage backup for applications such as Exchange 2010 leveraging efficient native Nimble Storage snapshots. Using CommVault Simpana, administrators can recover a single item from a native Nimble snapshot—eliminating backup windows and offering rapid granular recovery.

Stay tuned: In the coming weeks, we will cover the detailed setup used in the 40,000 mailbox benchmark and discuss a few best practices to take into account including how to set up DAG, how to scale the environment and more.


Written by:
Sachin Chheda