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BLOG: A conversation with Suresh Vasudevan, CEO of Nimble Storage

Larry Chaffin | May 16, 2013
How he is changing storage

In a broader sense though, SDN can be broadly interpreted to suggest that infrastructure products will increasingly tend towards software intelligence coupled with industry standard hardware.  In that sense, we absolutely believe in software defined infrastructure and our underlying architecture embodies that philosophy.

12. Let's talk green, many companies talk about it but they really don't do it. Can you tell us where you are going in the green space and how customer can save money with your products?

What we see routinely in most of our deployments is that the amount of hardware that a customer has to deploy to meet an application's performance needs and capacity needs is about 20-25% of competing products.  Furthermore, our systems use a combination of SSDs and low-RPM, high-density HDDs which consume a lot less power and cooling.  Both of these attributes combine to deliver an order of magnitude improvement in the power and cooling resources that our customers spend.

Secondly, what most customers have traditionally done to protect data is to deploy a three-tier architecture - a primary storage tier for the primary copy of the application data, a disk-based backup storage system for backups and an offsite storage system that has replicated data for disaster recovery.  Our systems have been designed to accommodate the primary application data as well as hundreds of de-deduplicated, compressed backups.  Consequently, many of our customers are able to collapse a three-tier architecture into a two-tier architecture, eliminating the need for a dedicated disk-based backup system altogether.  This further shrinks the amount of infrastructure needed and the associated power and cooling costs.

13. Right now we are at 40gbps, moving to 100gbps and beyond. Where do you see Nimble Storage moving to and how fast?

Our products are network attached over Ethernet networks, and we evolve as Ethernet speeds evolve.

14. Do you spend allot of time look at what other companies are doing in your space?

We do indeed spend time looking at what other companies in our space are doing from a competitive perspective.  At the same time, one of our most interesting recent innovations is in the area of how we deliver support leveraging a combination of cloud based monitoring and big data analytics - something that is uniquely different from how vendors deliver support within the storage industry. 

15. What is the one question when meeting with potential customers that you get the most and why?

There are two questions that compete for being the most frequently asked question:

  • How can you do this with such a small foot-print? This question comes up because the product configuration we propose often looks dramatically smaller than our competitors' proposals. A good example is a large insurance company that chose our product which was about 1/10th the footprint of their incumbent vendor - an industry leader who proposed a configuration of 6 racks of storage against a configuration occupying about half a rack!
  • Will you be bought? We are steadfast in our path to building a sustainable stand-alone company, but the question comes up often and is understandable question given the history of acquisitions in our industry.


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