We have a company meeting every month but the one we had last week was extra special because we have just completed our first full fiscal year, having shipped our product for the first time in August 2010.  As I look back on the year, every one of us at Nimble Storage has a lot to be proud of, and a lot to be thankful for.

Thanks to our customers, partners and our people

We ended the year with orders that were almost twice what we thought was feasible in December 2010.  The value of our orders booked in our recently concluded 4th quarter (Nov’11 – Jan’12) was almost five times larger than in Q4 of our previous fiscal year, and we shipped 200 systems and added over a hundred new customers in Q4 alone – a substantial achievement within 5 quarters of shipping products.  Very significant portions of our wins have been accomplished without extensive pilots and proof of concept deployments, because of the following drivers:

  • Customers acting as our advocates – thank you!!  We have quickly managed to build a base of loyal customers that are willing to act as references and speak about their experiences in deploying our systems.  We at Nimble are very grateful for this and recognize that we need to continue to earn this loyalty
  • Partners have embraced our solutions – thank you!! Channel partners are critical to our success, since our business model is to drive all our business through channel partners.  Our partner base has ramped faster than we anticipated, with over 130 channel partners in a short time-span.  More significantly, our partners have adopted our solutions more thoroughly than we could have hoped for – we are often positioned as one the top 2-3 storage solutions that they recommend to their customers, alongside the traditional large, incumbent vendors.

We have laid a strong organizational foundation – thanks to our employees!! Startups exist because they have a vision of being able to do things better than much larger companies despite capital constraints, resource constraints, inadequate infrastructure, perceptions of being higher risk and so on.  Employees in the early years need to have a maniacal belief to overcome the constraints and they play a critical role in helping to scale the organization.  We have done very well in this regard – we were 38 people a year ago, and have grown to over 4 times that size in a year!! We have a very rigid internal principle in that we want a high bar on talent but also an equally high bar on not hiring jerks!  We have been able to grow our organization without compromising on this principle.

Resounding validation of our value proposition

With over 500 deployments, competing against the largest storage companies for every win, we have a resounding validation of the value we bring to our customers.

  • Unparalleled performance and capacity efficiency for Enterprise applications.  A significant majority of our deployments are in virtual environments running mainstream Enterprise applications – database applications, Exchange, File services, SharePoint, VDI being among the most common – and a key factor has been that our customers see 4-5 times more performance and 2-3 times more usable capacity for the same spend!
  • Dramatically superior business continuity.  Our customers maintain hundreds of online backups on our arrays alongside their primary application data, and these backups are almost instantaneous to create and to recover from.  Our replication attach rate is over 70% – much higher than industry norms, but understandable given the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of our solution.  Taken together, converged primary and backup data, coupled with WAN efficient replication, has dramatically improved our customers’ ability to maintain business continuity.
  • Pain-free operations. We get high marks from our customers in the areas of simplicity in initial setup and ongoing administration, highly automated proactive support, simplicity in pricing and licensing, and in the extent of our integration into application environments.

We are just getting started

We have a lot to do as we look at the year ahead.  We believe that we can continue to set a scorching pace in terms of top-line growth, customer acquisition, geographic expansion and in broadening and deepening our channel partner base.  We also have an ambitious agenda for the innovation that we will bring to bear, with some industry-leading functionality that will significantly broaden our platform over the course of the year.  Even as we scale rapidly and expand the scope of our operations, we will drive only as fast as we can while maintaining our hiring standards, how well we maintain our culture, and how effectively we continue to foster customer and partner loyalty.

I look forward to another exciting year for Nimble Storage!!