Storage Field Day 6 – Day 3 – Nimble Storage

Disclaimer: I recently attended Storage Field Day 6.  My flights, accommodation and other expenses were paid for by Tech Field Day and their sponsors. There is no requirement for me to blog about any of the content presented and I am not compensated in any way for my time at the event.  Some materials presented were discussed under NDA and don’t form part of my blog posts, but could influence future discussions.

For each of the presentations I attended at SFD6, there are a few things I want to include in the post. Firstly, you can see video footage of the Nimble Storage presentation here. You can also download my raw notes from the presentation here. Finally, here’s a link to the Nimble Storage website that covers some of what they presented.

I had a briefing from Nimble Storage in Australia last year when I was still working in customer land. At the time I liked what they had to offer, but couldn’t really move on getting hold of their product. So this time around it was interesting to dive into some other aspects of the Nimble Storage story that make it a pretty neat offering.

Rod Bagg, VP of Customer Support, spoke about Nimble’s desire to “[m]aintain a maniacal focus on providing the industry’s most enviable customer support”. They achieve this through a combination of products and strategies, but InfoSight underpins the success of this undertaking.

As with most storage vendors, customers have been asking Nimble:

  • Why can’t vendors proactively monitor customer systems for insights?
  • Can vendors predict and prevent problems before they occur?

Since 94% of the deployed Nimble Storage arrays connect back to the mothership for monitoring and analysis, it would seem a shame not to leverage that information. With InfoSight, it appears that they’ve made some headway towards solving these types of problems.

From a telemetry perspective, Nimble collects between 12 and 70m sensors per array daily, with data collected every 5 minutes and on-demand. They then perform systems modelling, correlations, trending and projection. Some of the benefits of this approach include the ability to perform:

  • Monitoring and alerting
  • Visualisation, capacity planning, and performance management

This leads to what Nimble calls “Proactive wellness”, where a vast majority of cases are opened by Nimble, and they have secure, on-demand system access to resolve issues. What they really seem to be about, though, is “[l]everaging pervasive network connectivity and big data analytics to automate support and enable cloud-based management”. They use HP Vertica as the analytics engine.

The demo looked super pretty, you can use InfoSight to assist with sizing, and overall it seemed like a pretty solid offering. I don’t think this post does enough justice to the InfoSight tool, and I heartily recommend checking out the SFD6 video and reaching out to Nimble for a demo – it’s really cool stuff. Also, the have a Peet’s machine in their kitchen. While coffee in the U.S. is pretty awful, Peet’s is kind of okay.