Consume Application Storage Like the Cloud
By Doug Ko, Solution Marketing, Nimble Storage

The primary reason organizations choose cloud is to achieve agility. This means a business model that’s on demand and lets you add and release resources when you need them, paying only for what you use. Unfortunately, acquiring storage either requires customers to pay for everything up front, or to use stepped leasing options with lock-in periods of 3 years or more.

To address this gap, Nimble introduced Storage on Demand (SoD) nearly 2 years ago – a true pay-for-what-you-use pricing model. Customers like Catalyst Paper use SoD to operationalize their IT expense and divert more funds to the capital intensive business of making paper and preserving natural resources. More importantly, it has enabled them to achieve a level of cloud-like agility to grow and transform their IT services rapidly across multiple sites at a completely predictable cost.

Fast forward to 2016 and customers are not only demanding more cloud-like agility out of their infrastructure, but many are moving to all-flash and evolving their IT operations to be more application centric. With our announcement today, Nimble is excited to offer Storage on Demand app-based pricing starting as low as 6.8 cents1 per GB per month for enterprise class all-flash storage. It provides a simple fixed rate per GB per month usage pricing for each enterprise application you deploy including databases, virtual servers, virtual desktops, and email. We’re breaking the cost barrier and removing the uncertainty and risk of provisioning flash storage for enterprise applications.

Cost and Capacity Planning Conundrum
In today’s agile IT environment, it’s difficult to predict how much storage your applications really need now and in the next 6 months, let alone in the next 3-5 years. Not to mention the complete uncertainty around the needs of future applications. With this capacity guessing game, storage ends up costing more than you planned. If you buy 100TB of storage and end up using only 50 percent of the capacity, your actual cost per TB is twice what you planned. And if you bought 100TB and actually needed 110TB, the extra 10TB might force you to buy a higher-end-model that costs far more than you originally budgeted. However, paying for what you actually use on a monthly basis removes the waste and uncertainty of capacity planning and provides you with predictable costs per GB.

Data Reduction – The Good, Bad, and Ugly
Some flash vendors including Nimble provide data reduction features like inline compression and deduplication to reduce the effective cost of flash. This is a great benefit (The Good), but the catch (The Bad) is your data reduction “mileage may vary.” Even worse (The Ugly), some vendors inflate their data reduction estimates and present unrealistic “effective” costs. When the customer doesn’t get the data reduction they expected, they are stuck buying more capacity to make up the difference.

With Nimble SoD app-based pricing, we’re taking away the risk and uncertainty around the amount of data reduction that apps might achieve. We’re providing customers with a fixed per GB rate for each app that includes built-in data reduction savings, irrespective of the actual data reduction rate achieved.

Service Levels vs. Fixed Configurations
Apps rely on SLAs to ensure they deliver a great end-user experience. This is why SoD is built on service levels instead of fixed hardware configurations. SoD customers sign up for performance service levels in IOPS/TB that meet the needs of their applications. When apps need more capacity (TB), they get more performance (IOPS) as well. Nimble automatically takes care of shipping you more hardware so you don’t need to worry about running out of space or missing SLAs.

No Long-term Contracts
Cloud has helped set the tone around flexibility without lock-in. The irony with cloud storage is that you can cancel anytime, but it will cost you 3-5 times more to get your data out of the cloud than it did to store it in the first place.

With SoD, we believe you receive the best of both worlds. You get storage you can control and the flexibility to move data on or off our flash storage arrays any time you want. Simply pay for what you use. We only ask for a minimum monthly spend and a 12 month contract (that’s shorter than your cell phone contract). After 12 months you can continue month-to-month or cancel your service and send back the gear to Nimble.

Cloud-like agility and flash performance for your Apps
The goal of any IT organization should be to serve your end-users through the applications they consume. Delivering those applications with cloud-like agility and strong SLAs built on flash performance are key to keeping users happy and maintaining IT as a key stakeholder to your organization.

1. Starting price for Silver-AF service level valid in USA only. Additional fees may apply for other service levels, configuration options, and application types. Available in select countries only.