As the leading provider of flash-optimized hybrid data storage systems, Nimble Storage is a frequent participant at major industry events, such as last week’s Cisco Live show in London, England (
london-map2We were especially pleased to see the turnout for Charlie Whitfield’s talk on “Successful VDI Using Pre-validated Reference Architectures”. It’s clear that this is a hot topic for many IT managers and storage admins, which is no surprise given the way VDI enables them to provide their users with improved performance and capabilities without increasing their costs.

This document describes the reference architecture for desktop virtualization with storage for up to 1,000 virtual desktops based on VMware View 5.1 and VMware vSphere 5, built on Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers and the Nimble Storage CS-Series storage appliance.

In addition to providing demonstrations of the latest Nimble Storage hybrid arrays to existing customers, prospects, and resellers, I had a first-hand opportunity to learn about a number of interesting developments and trends. One big shift was the discussion about the internet of things, which is critical to many of the technology solutions we are coming to expect and depend on today. Cisco is definitely in the middle of this domain and there were many interesting sessions on these topics.

From a storage perspective, it’s now accepted that solid state flash technology is a fundamental requirement to meet the performance needs of the applications that will support the infrastructures behind this connect-anywhere market. VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) are still key drivers for the users as well. This seems to be in almost every conversation somewhere.

As I stated in an earlier post, I was really interested in the UCS of things too. While we have been mainly focused on the B-series solutions with Nimble Storage as the foundation, there is also a keen interest in the C-series rack systems and the new E-series, ISR-based solutions. (More information can be found here:

In a future post we’ll look at Nimble Storage connectivity for these other compute/network solutions, testing whether they’re also as simple and straightforward as the B-series has been for us in our environment.

From One Thousand to Fifty Billion Devices
Based on conversations with other Cisco Live London participants, a variety of issues are increasingly important to enterprise customers today:

  • Mobile access is becoming increasingly important, as evidenced by a statistic from Padmasree Warrior, Cisco’s chief technology officer: There were only about 1,000 devices connected to the Internet in 1984, a number that has now surpassed 50 billion! No wonder CIOs are busy updating their network infrastructure.
  • To support this trend, Cisco took the wraps off its Unified Access One Network strategy during the opening keynote of the show, highlighting enterprises’ need to manage complexity and cost. They also showed new high-speed LAN and wireless controllers.
  • Despite the emergence of the Open Compute project (supported by Facebook, Intel, Rackspace, and others), the vast majority of large companies will continue to rely on unified data centers powered by Cisco, VMware, Nimble Storage, and other tried-and-trusted vendors.