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Nimble says customers quick to embrace all-flash

Nimble Storage, which was relatively late selling all-flash arrays, is trying to make up for lost time since launching its Predictive Flash platform in February. The vendor received a jolt from all-flash sales but not enough to stop or even slow its significant losses.

Nimble said it added 133 all-flash customers in its first full quarter selling all-flash arrays. CEO Suresh Vasudevan said 79 of the all-flash customers were new to Nimble. Overall, 23% of bookings in the quarter were all-flash systems.

Nimble Tuesday reported revenue of $97.1 million. That beat the high end of its forecast by $1.1 million, and was up from $80.1 million a year ago.

However, the sales came at a cost as Nimble continues to increase investments in sales and marketing to compete with larger vendors. It lost $39.3 million in the quarter – up from $29.5 million a year ago – and executives would not predict when the company will become profitable. Nimble has $194.2 million in cash and investments as a cushion, which gives it a little time to stop the bleeding.

Nimble projected $100 million to $103 million in revenue this quarter, which at the midpoint is a 26% increase over last year.

Nimble added around 700 customers in the quarter. Most of them bought hybrid arrays, but Vasudevan said the selling price for all-flash often doubled that of hybrid systems. The vendor reported bookings from large enterprises (deals over $250,000) grew 37% over last year.

Nimble is looking to broaden its all-flash market with its new Predictive Flash AF1000 entry level system with a list price beginning at $40,000.

“We believe that complex storage solutions from legacy vendors are no longer competitive creating a significant share shift opportunity,” Vasudevan said during Nimble’s earnings call. “At the same time, we believe that younger storage companies do not have the breadth of functionality of our (all-flash) platform. Consequently, we believe that we have the opportunity to emerge as a leading next generation infrastructure provider.”

He said Nimble’s priorities at the start of 2016 were to invest in building a strong pipeline, drive faster growth in large enterprise and cloud service provider markets and drive traction in sales of all-flash arrays. He said meeting those goals will help Nimble’s long-term financial position. The flash market is as competitive as it is potentially lucrative, Vasudevan said.

“The all-flash array market growth is stronger than what analysts had projected for this point, and it’s continued to remain strong,” he said. “Now that said, every single all-flash win that we’ve had is one where we’ve had to take on two, three other all-flash array vendors so there are no uncontested deals.”

Vasudevan said Nimble’s main all-flash competitors are EMC, NetApp and Pure Storage.

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