HPE Nimble Storage Review

Quality of service and management tools let us guarantee performance, something we couldn't do before

How has it helped my organization?

Firstly, we get pretty good support from HPE on it, in terms of leads. So that's valuable by definition.

The quality of the service and management tools let us do things like contractual guarantees for storage performance for customers. That's something we couldn't do before.

What is most valuable?

It's a fairly simple-to-manage platform. We had a situation in the past where we had more storage platforms than we had storage engineers. We've managed to cut that down, which is good. 

It is cost-effective, which is important for a service provider, because you're competing with hyper-scale providers who do things at extremely large scale, who tend to kill you on price if you're not careful. 

What needs improvement?

I'd like to see more granular quality of service rules. So things like: I think currently there's not much room for maximum IOPS, but there's not an option for minimum IOPS for a given volume.

It's less about giving us more features and more about giving us ways to contractually guarantee the features that are already there. So something like performance is the classic one. It's more valuable to me to be able to contract the performance that's there, rather than have a new way of doing things, because customers are not interested in signing up for the "best effort, maybe" services anymore.

For how long have I used the solution?

Less than one year.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's stable, absolutely. We haven't had any challenges with downtime or anything like that yet. We did a pretty long technical proof of concept beforehand, so we were pretty confident when we purchased it that it would be fit for purpose.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is an interesting issue, because most of our customers grow organically - 10, 20 percent range. But we have deployed it for single, large tenants without too many challenges. 

We have a government customer who wants to buy storage on demand. Basically, they want the commercial model of the public cloud and absolutely nothing else. Everything else they want to be to their specifications, and that's worked out quite well for them. They can add 40 terabytes, 100 terabytes at a time without too much of a challenge.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We replaced 3PAR with Nimble.

How was the initial setup?

Everything is complex for us because we're an MSP with so many different customers who all have different, weird requirements. Nothing is ever simple for us, but Nimble was no more complex than anything else we have had to deploy for our customers.

What other advice do I have?

We deployed Nimble about nine months ago, across all of our managed services customers. We've got about six arrays, about 400 terabytes of data provisioned on Nimble at the moment.

When we look to work with a vendor like HPE or any other vendor, there are  a couple of things that are important to us. Support is the big one. Is it onshore? Is it local? Are they going to care, basically?

The other one that's important is, what can we do together in the market? One of the competitors that we evaluated in the proof of concept talked a lot about what we'd do in the market, and then made press releases with my competitors, contradicting what they were saying the day before. So trustworthiness, when it comes to co-marketing and that kind of thing; that they're going to support us. Don't get me wrong, you don't expect to be the only partner they work with. But you want them to at least be honest about "here's what we can do together, here's what we can't."

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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