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Nimble adds two hybrid flash arrays

Nimble Storage today completed a product refresh it began in June with its CS700 high-end system. Today it added CS500 and CS300 arrays, which like the CS700 use new versions of Intel processors to speed performance over Nimble’s previous generation of arrays.

The CS500 replaces Nimble’s CS400 and the CS300 will replace the CS200. The vendor claims a 50 percent performance boost for the new arrays over the systems they will replace.

“Think of them as we’ve brought the CS 700 architecture down across the entire platform,” said Dan Leary, Nimble VP of marketing. “These have slightly less CPU cores, and bring costs down to midrange customers. We drive performance more from CPUs than from hard drives or solid-state drives (SSDs).”

The CS700, CS500 and CS300 are all 3u dual controller hybrid flash systems with a maximum of 36 TB or raw capacity inside the box with the ability to scale to 256 TB with expansion shelves. The difference is in the processor and number of CPU cores for performance. The CS700 uses Intel Ivy Bridge while the CS500 and CS300 use Sandy Bridge processors. Nimble calls the CS700 its extreme performance family, the CS500 the high performance family and the CS300 the base performance family. There is also an ultimate performance scale-out cluster option of up to four clustered CS700 systems.

Leary said the CS300 is for departments, SMBs and enterprises running a mix of databases, Microsoft Exchange and VMware but not applications requiring “bleeding edge performance like online transaction processing.”

The CS500 is aimed at applications with more intensive I/O operations and the CS7000 is for applications needing the highest level of performance.

Like the CS700, the new systems work with Nimble’s All-Flash Shelf (AFS) that was introduced with the CS7000 in June. Also like the CS700, the CS500 and CS300 include two Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) ports and the option for two dual 10GigE or two GbE SFP+ connections per controller. Nimble is expected to add Fibre Channel (FC) connectivity by the end of the year. Nimble storage arrays have been iSCSI from its inception.

Leary wouldn’t give specifics on the coming FC, except to say, “We still do have Fibre Channel on the roadmap and these products are broadly compatible with that strategy.”

Nimble has not upgraded its CASL operating system for the new hardware. “CASL was designed to take full advantage of all the CPU it can get,” Leary said.

Leary said Nimble intends to eventually add the ability to upgrade from a CS200 or CS400 to the new models through software upgrades, but that is not available yet.

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