Our second full fiscal year as a company ended in January – a great time to reflect back on our core beliefs, our accomplishments over the past year and to express thanks to the many, many people that made it all possible.
Our Mission and Core Beliefs
Our mission as an organization is “To deliver the world’s most efficient data storage solutions to enterprises.” We are targeting a broad range of mainstream enterprise applications, and we believe that doing so effectively requires simultaneously optimizing a combination of attributes – performance efficiency, capacity efficiency, data protection, and dramatic simplicity; and that we want to be the best when a customer tries to optimize more than one of these criteria.
This mission is informed by some core beliefs that underpin our product strategy:
- Intelligent hybrid storage systems – designed from the ground up to flexibly combine the complementary characteristics of flash SSDs and HDDs – represent the next generation of storage, delivering dramatically better performance and dramatically better usable capacity simultaneously, with unparalleled economics.
- A system that can accommodate thousands of space-efficient and performance-efficient snapshots, coupled with WAN-optimized replication, represents the next generation of data protection – delivering dramatically lower backup and recovery times and minimizing the amount of data at risk.
- Simplicity and ease of operations are critical – not just in initial setup where the industry has made good progress, but more importantly, in how systems are supported on a day-to-day basis through remote support automation and system telemetry that facilitates deep insights into how customers are using their systems.
There have been two alternative approaches advocated by the industry, both of which we believe fall short:
- Legacy storage arrays that layer in SSDs coupled with auto-tiering software will improve price-performance but fall severely short of being competitive with ground-up designs that deliver all-flash array-like performance with a much smaller amount of flash SSDs.
- All-flash arrays leverage flash in the most obvious manner, and will indeed be relevant for high-performance niches. However, they fall severely short of being competitive in addressing the broad requirements of mainstream enterprise applications in the area of capacity efficiency, and are simply not cost effective to store hundreds of snapshots for rapid recoverability or to replicate data for disaster recovery.
FY13 (Feb 2012 – Jan 2013): A Very Strong Year
We executed very well against our mission last year on every dimension, with annualized orders well in excess of $100M in Q4:
- We have built a customer community of well over 1,100 customers – thank you! During Q4, we went past the 1,100-customer benchmark, with over 2,000 systems deployed, having added 321 customers in the fourth quarter alone. What is more critical for us though is to foster a deep relationship with every customer founded on our deep commitment to their success, which we believe will translate into our customers becoming invested in our success! This is perhaps our most important goal, and one of the best proof-points of our success against this goal in FY13 is the willingness of our entire customer base to act as references and to advocate on our behalf.
- We have built a robust channel partner ecosystem of over 400 partners – thank you! One of our core go-to-market philosophies has been to embrace our partners as an extension of our organization, to drive demand generation for them even as we leverage their existing customer relationships, and to ensure their profitability. We are executing well against this philosophy and have expanded our global channel ecosystem to over 400 partners.
- We made significant strides towards becoming a global company. During the last year, we expanded our global presence significantly. We now have employees in the UK, Germany, Scandinavia, Benelux, Australia and Singapore and conduct business in several more countries through partners that further expand our scope of operations. Further, to better support our customers, we have added support centers in Raleigh, North Carolina and in the UK.
- We extended our innovation lead through new high-performance arrays, our scale-to-fit launch and numerous feature enhancements. In just 5 months since we launched these new capabilities, our higher-end arrays and our scaling capabilities have allowed us to win significantly larger deals, as we added numerous “multi-100 TB” and “double-digit-site” customers. There were other enhancements such as deeper integration with CommVault, richer integration with VMware APIs, etc. – all of which enhance our differentiation and expand our solution scope.
- Our investment in solutions with alliance partners is paying off. We invested significantly in strengthening our alliance relationships with a range of industry participants. For example, our partnership with CommVault through the IntelliSnap™ Connect program strengthened our data protection solutions. Similarly, our partnership with VMware and Cisco culminated in the SmartStack reference architecture – we now have hundreds of customers implementing BYOD initiatives and using us for VDI deployments.
All of what we achieved in FY13 would not have been possible without the enormous efforts of our Nimble employees – thanks to each and every one of them! We continue to strengthen our organizational foundation as we added almost 200 employees during the year, spanning every function – all without sacrificing our core principle of “hiring no jerks”!
A Rich Agenda As We Look Ahead
We have a lot to do as we look at the year ahead.
We believe that we can continue to set records in terms of top-line growth and pace of customer acquisition, through continuing to invest in a robust channel ecosystem and systematically expanding our global presence. Further, we also saw a diversification of our customer base (from mid-sized enterprises) to include several large, global enterprises and large service providers in FY13, and we expect that trend to accelerate over the next 12 months. As our customer base expands rapidly, we have some exciting plans for how we can further build out our customer community in FY14.
Our innovation agenda for FY14 is very rich, as we expect to significantly strengthen our ability to simultaneously deliver performance and capacity efficiency and scale to very large environments, and as we deliver some exciting new functionality aimed at dramatically simplifying storage management and data center operations for our customers.
As we strive to meet some ambitious goals for next year, we expect to continue to build our organizational foundation further by adding 200-250 people in the next 12 months. The key for us is to do so without diluting our hiring standards and without diluting our culture.
I look forward to another exciting year for Nimble Storage!!
- Suresh Vasudevan