Nimble Storage sees huge opportunity in Lenovo partnership

For Nimble, the Lenovo partnership massively expands their route to market, with a series of new appliances that combine the two companies’ technology, and which will go to market through Lenovo and its channel.


Dan Leary, VP, Corporate Development, Solutions and Alliances, at Nimble Storage

Today, Nimble Storage and Lenovo are announcing the launch of a new strategic partnership. It will see the companies collaborate to develop a family of appliances designed to simplify the data centre, while at the same time greatly increasing efficiency and scale.

For Lenovo, the Nimble partnership is one element of a new three-pronged portfolio Lenovo has badged as ThinkAgile. It also includes their HX hyperconverged appliances with Nutanix software, and a new OpenStack-based family which will use open source storage like Ceph, and will initially be limited to the Chinese market.

“We are really excited about this new strategic partnership, which will take our storage business to the next level,” said Nancy Reaves, Senior Manager Worldwide Storage Product Management at Lenovo. “We see this as a perfect marriage because Nimble is a proven leader in flash storage, and this partnership will jointly accelerate the adoption of intelligent flash managed storage.”

Lenovo of course signed a major partnering deal last year with EMC that was supposed to provide Lenovo with high end storage – a deal that swiftly collapsed when Lenovo arch-rival Dell bought EMC. Reaves said that the Nimble deal is different – and in some ways more strategic – because Nimble brings very specific strengths to the table.

“Nimble is a proven leader in flash storage, and their InfoSight Predictive Analytics is a major differentiator,” Reaves said. “They were our number one choice.”


Nancy Reaves, Senior Manager Worldwide Storage Product Management at Lenovo

Reaves also emphasized that Lenovo will be further leveraging Nimble’s flash technology and predictive analytics to build out a full family of converged products for the data centre. These will span the gamut from smaller appliances aimed at SMBs and the ROBO market, to high-end appliances for mission-critical applications.

“We will be working with Nimble to jointly develop a portfolio of optimized and high-performance data centre products,” she said.

While Lenovo sees the new partnership as a very big deal, Nimble, as the far smaller partner in the relationship, is positively ecstatic about the promise of what it will do for their market reach.

“For us, this is a ground-breaking deal,” said Dan Leary, VP, Corporate Development, Solutions and Alliances, at Nimble Storage. “It is a milestone for Nimble for a lot of reasons, but the most important is the expansion of our market reach. Lenovo has well over ten times the number of sellers relative to us in North America alone. So the ability for us to go in and work together is a big opportunity. The biggest thing limiting our ability to grow in the market has been the difficulty of ramping up new sales people. Lenovo greatly expands our ability to grow to market.”

Leary emphasized as well that the partnership will greatly expand the presence of their InfoSight Predictive Analytics,

“Early on, Nimble recognized that fast flash itself was not enough to solve all the problems, because we found that in over half the cases, the root causes of problems were not storage-related, but were things  like configuration issues, host-side issues, and VM issues,” he said. As a result, Nimble developed InfoSight, which became available in their product early this year. The data comes from sensors, spanning into host and virtual machines, which had always been part of the product, and which can collect tens of millions of data points per array per day, providing a tool for rapid root cause analysis that Nimble says is unparalleled in the industry. It can predict problems that stem from outside the storage as well, like a VMware bug that only appears in a certain set of circumstances.

“With this partnership, we will be able to move InfoSight all the way up the application stack,” Leary said. “It will also be integrated into XClarity, Lenovo’s management framework.”

There is a fair bit of overlap between Nimble’s channel and Lenovo, and that’s a good thing, because the CX line will only be going to market through Lenovo and its channel.

“The Nimble sales team will be assisting, but the Lenovo channel will be the go-to-market route,” Leary stated.

The first offerings from the ThinkAgile CX Series are scheduled to be available on October 28.