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Nimble gets SAP certification, offers SmartStack for HANA

Most of the storage news this week is happening at EMC World in Las Vegas, but there’s also a bit of activity at the SAP Sapphire Now conference in Orlando, Florida.

Nimble Storage announced that SAP certified its Adaptive Flash CS500 and CS700 arrays for the SAP HANA in-memory database management system. The San Jose, California, storage startup sells hybrid arrays that combine solid-state and hard-disk drives and offer features such as performance monitoring, scale-out clustering and triple-parity RAID.

Nimble’s SAP certification opened the door for the company to participate in the HANA tailored data center integration (TDI) program, which lets customers use their existing hardware and infrastructure components for HANA deployments. Nimble developed a SmartStack integrated infrastructure offering built on Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS), tested and validated to work with SAP HANA.

“HANA is a pretty complex workload, and figuring out the sizing and the deployment guidelines can be pretty challenging,” said Radhika Krishnan, vice president of product marketing and alliances at Nimble. “What we’ve done working with Cisco is provide a reference architecture that outlines all the best practices as well as the deployment specs, the guidelines, that customers require.”

Cisco’s “build and price” site for SAP’s Business Suite for HANA (S/4HANA) lists Nimble as well as EMC, IBM and NetApp as recommended storage configurations for small, medium and large S/4HANA production environments.

“That’s essentially intended to help customers accelerate the pace at which they can get their HANA environments provisioned,” said Krishnan. “And it’s also to eliminate a part of the risk involved in the process. Oftentimes these are projects that take multiple months, and we’re trying to accelerate that whole cycle by providing off-the-shelf guidelines and reference architectures.”

In order to get the SAP certification, Nimble had to run tests to demonstrate that its systems had the performance and reliability characteristics to host mission-critical tier 1 workloads, according to Krishnan. She said that Nimble started the certification process last October.

Krishnan claimed one advantage of the Nimble-Cisco combination with SAP HANA is the ability to accommodate growth over time in a “safe, gradual manner without any kind of disruption to the application,” as well as lower power and cooling requirements than some of the other options on Cisco’s recommended list. She estimated that Nimble has several dozen customers using SAP with its storage systems.