Nimble builds on new all-flash portfolio with entry level AF1000

The AF1000 takes Nimble into the sub-$40k range for an all-flash array, which certainly isn’t the cheapest available on the market, but does offer a broad range of services and analytics.

Gavin Cohen

Gavin Cohen, Nimble’s Senior Director of Strategy and Market Development

San Jose based Nimble Storage, an established hybrid player which finally made its entry into the all-flash market in February, has expanded that all-flash portfolio. The new AF1000 offers about 70 per cent of the performance as the AF3000, the lowest entry in the family previously. However, it also has a much lower price, under $USD 40,000, which includes three years of support.

“In February, we had the biggest announcement in Nimble’s history, with a new all flash array portfolio,” said Gavin Cohen, Nimble’s Senior Director of Strategy and Market Development. “The AF Series of Predictive All Flash Arrays feature InfoSight Predictive Analytics, which collect a massive amount of data to predict issues across the infrastructure stack. The subtext is that simply deploying an all-flash array doesn’t solve all the problems. A bigger percentage of issues revolve around broader configuration, VM and host-side issues.”

Cohen said that the analytics has been critical in the AF Series’ success.

“That has been very significant for us, as customers say InfoSight sets this apart,” he said. “It’s a generation beyond all other flash arrays. We had a spectacular Q1, with it shipping for only half a quarter. About half the AF arrays sold went into environments with customers who were new to Nimble.”

The AF1000 becomes the new “entry-level” product in the AF family, but Cohen emphasized that it is very different from typical entry flash offerings.

“Its scalability sets it apart from others’ entry level solutions,” he said. “It can scale-up and scale-out non-disruptively to achieve over 1.2M IOPS and 8PB if clustered.”

It starts with up to 20TB effective capacity and is expandable up to 165TB effective capacity in 4U.

“The performance doesn’t change as you expand,” Cohen said. “You can also scale up to the AF3000 5000 7000 or 9000 non-disruptively. It’s also the same OS on all the models. We don’t cripple any of the features on the AF3000. Some competitive entries don’t have all the features turned on.”

“This provides about 70 per cent of the performance of the AF3000, but at an end-user street price under $40,000, with three years of support.”

Cohen said that the anticipated market for this product is quite significant, and that it’s not an issue of offering the low end of the market power that they just don’t need.

Nimble-Storage-AFA-angled-dark-400x300“We are still addressing a really broad entry level market. It’s true that many customers in this part of the market don’t need hundreds of thousands of IOPS. But what they DO need is low latency and high simplicity. It’s the same reason that while a laptop doesn’t need massive performance, the latency makes it seem slow if it has no SSD. Small businesses that doesn’t push many IOPS will still feel blinding speed because of the low latency.”

Cohen also indicated that the AF1000 is also well suited for enterprise small projects as well as smaller businesses, with the common denominator being its ability to fit within a tight budget.

“It very much opens it up to a market that wouldn’t have been able to afford an all-flash array otherwise,” he said.

“There is a lower-end flash market that goes below where we go, but it’s totally price driven, and there isn’t a lot of value there,” Cohen added “They don’t replicate, or have snapshots or data services. That’s not the value we provide, with our emphasis on analytics.”

Nimble also announced the next generation of its hybrid CS-Series Adaptive Flash Arrays, which has the same OS as the flash models, and can be clustered with them and managed with them in a Unified Flash Fabric. The new portfolio consists of the CS1000, CS3000, CS5000 and CS7000 models, with the CS7000 achieving up to 230K IOPS and scales to over 2.4 PB of effective capacity. Nimble says that across the full family, users will see a 2X performance improvement and 40 per cent lower cost of capacity over the previous generation of Adaptive Flash arrays.

The Nimble Storage AF1000 is available now.