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Nimbus makes its all-flash storage enterprise ready

Nimbus adds dual controller architecture to the all-flash storage arrays it has been selling for nearly two years.

All-flash storage array vendor Nimbus Data Systems Inc., makes a move into the enterprise with its first dual-controller multiprotocol storage system. The Nimbus E-Class system is aimed at organizations with enterprise-wide server and desktop virtualization implementations as well as mission-critical applications.

Nimbus began selling all-flash storage systems with the single controller S-Class system in April 2010. The E-Class has non-disruptive automatic controller failover as well as non-disruptive software upgrades, and capacity and file system expansion.

The E-Class system is also twice as dense as the S-Class, scaling to 500 TB per system compared to 250 TB for an S-Class. Both systems use 100% enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) solid-state drives (SSDs). The E-Class scales to 24 2U enclosures with each enclosure containing 20 TB of flash. The S-System grows to a maximum of one dozen 20 TB enclosures.

“With the S-Class, our goal was to start with less mission-critical deployments and now we feel confident enough to move up,” Nimbus CEO Tom Isakovich said. “You have to crawl before you can walk. Within the next 12 months we expect to double capacity again.”

Like the S-Class system, the E-Class array has multiprotocol support so customers can choose between 8 gigabit Fibre Channel, iSCSI, or NAS.  It also uses the company’s same HALO operating system for snapshots, replication, thin provisioning, encryption, and deduplication while offering SAN and NAS through a single file system. The system has active-active I/O modules, supporting Fibre Channel, 10-Gigabit Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet and InfiniBand networks.

The E-Class targets applications such as VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, Oracle RAC, SQL Server clusters, and 1,000-plus VDI implementations.

“Most of the time we are brought in for a specific application with a performance problem,” Isakovich said.

The E-Class system is available now with a 10 TB configuration starting at $149,995 compared to $25,000 for a 2.5 TB S-Class configuration on the S-Class array. Nimbus claims a flat pricing of $10 per gigabyte on both systems. E-Class customers must purchase controllers separately, however, which raises the starting price.

Nimbus’ all-flash storage array competitors include Violin Memory, Texas Memory Systems, and Oracle’s Sun Storage F5100 Flash Array. Ben Woo, IDC’s vice president of worldwide storage systems, said the typical customer deployments use Nimbus’ arrays for I/O-intensive applications, and run less-demanding applications on disk systems.

“The E-Class is a good next step,” said Woo. “They have had the S-Class. Now they have brought a system that is bigger and better. You will see them deployed on relational databases, analytics and some may put their Exchange (server) on it. The combination of performance and scalability is really a differentiating factor for them. They have a lot of functionality typically found in the enterprise.”

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