By Michael Hakkert – VP, Corporate Marketing
When Nimble Storage shipped its first storage array five years ago, the company’s strategy was straightforward – build the industry’s most efficient flash storage platform for small and mid-sized businesses with unprecedented levels of performance, capacity, and simplicity, then continuously innovate and expand its capabilities to successfully move up-market and address the demands of global enterprises in the data center.
It’s safe to say that we’ve accomplished the first part of the plan:
- The Adaptive Flash platform is now the preferred choice for more than 5,500 customers worldwide
- Nimble arrays deployed in 49 countries worldwide
- A robust ecosystem of channel partners and resellers across more than 40 countries worldwide
- Customers consistently reporting five nines of system reliability.
Meanwhile, the competitive landscape has shifted significantly, as incumbent storage vendors like NetApp and EMC are increasingly challenged in navigating the marketplace by a confluence of trends:
- The popularity of Software-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, etc.
- Mobile computing, smart phones, and tablets
- Hybrid public or private clouds
- Big data
The effects of this shift are already evident – EMC in February predicted declining revenues from their core legacy VNX and VMAX product lines for the foreseeable future, while NetApp announced in May that product revenues are in a precipitous decline, down by double digits on a year-over-year basis. Naturally these companies are making what they see as the best possible moves to preserve their own markets and customers – though the results often tend to focus more on the companies’ own survival, rather than the needs, wants and aspirations of the customer.
But even with the solid foundation we’ve already established, for an emergent brand like Nimble Storage to succeed long-term in the enterprise data center, we’ll need more than an expansive vision and missteps from legacy competitors.
That’s why our teams are working so hard across many different areas, including:
- A robust innovation pipeline, listening to customers and adding capabilities that are critical to success in the enterprise, such as advanced data security, performance management, advanced virtualization support, and integration with industry-leading ISVs (Independent Software Vendors), infrastructure alliances and partners.
- Continuing to build out our channel relationships – Nimble sells almost exclusively through more than a thousand third-party value-added resellers worldwide. In March we expanded our global channel partner program, adding certification levels, enhancing training materials, and providing new resources for educating customers and closing deals.
- Working to deepen our relationships and share insights with leading analysts (such as Gartner, IDC, and Forrester) that large enterprises rely on to better understand these rapidly changing technologies.
- Increasing our investments in the Nimble brand to build awareness, relevance and credibility not just among hands-on IT and storage administrators, but also among functional IT buyers and strategic IT influencers.
- Exciting new marketing initiatives, like our current Adaptive Flash Challenge campaign, which rewards prospective enterprise buyers with an Apple Watch just for conducting a “proof of concept” trial of Nimble against a flash-only array. To date we’ve won over 85% of these head-to-head trials, as enterprise buyers get up to speed on the advantages of Nimble’s flash architecture.
- Doubling down on our routes to market, bolstering our sales organization with highly qualified account management teams and specialized Systems Engineers with deep expertise in servers, networking, and enterprise data storage.
At Nimble, we understand that we’re going up against companies that are accustomed to market share leadership in the enterprise data storage market. We approach this challenge with disruptive and innovative technologies, with tenacity, grit, and an enduring focus on delighting our customers. That’s why I believe Nimble is well on the road toward establishing an enduring, sustainable enterprise brand.