What is our primary use case?
We use it for all of our storage, backups, and our user storage. Everything goes onto it. We have gone from multiple devices down to a single Nimble.
It hosts all of our databases for all of our servers. It hosts the servers themselves and our GFS retention jobs. It hosts everything that is critical for our business.
We went from hosting a lot of our external storage on ten different NASs. Now, we have all of our storage on a Nimble. Previously, we had three or four chassis just full of stuff. We consolidated our server space down to 25 percent of what it used to be, just from storage.
It is because of the way Nimble handles that storage. It can compress it down, making it smaller for us.
How has it helped my organization?
On some of our backup jobs, we are getting a dedupe rate of 11 to 13 times. Nimble is taking up a minuscule amount of actual raw storage for backups, etc.
Data management has improved vastly. We have gone from multiple devices down to a single device, making management much simpler. Previously, you could spend hours just going from one device to another, and now, it is all in a central location.
It has improved the throughput because of how the device interconnects with our network. It has 10 gig connections to the network and also multiple 8 gig connections through our Brocade switches back to the server farm. From just the sheer number of connections that it makes onto the network and devices, the throughput is staggering.
What is most valuable?
We have over 100 terabytes of storage, and it is all solid state. That is pretty valuable for everything we do.
The build alone is amazing and the way everything is modular. It's swapable.
The storage capacity efficiency is phenomenal. It is off the charts in comparison to the compression ratios that we got before. We are able to save a lot more to the device.
What needs improvement?
I would like to see the network portion of the product improve, especially with some of the things which are coming out from Aruba and HPE. Both are innovating more of an automated networking. I would like to see our Nimble meld into that and do some automated networking.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The product is up 99.99 percent of the time, and it just stays up. We have it on multiple power supplies. The product runs constantly. When there is a problem, it notifies you of the problem.
We have never had any critical failures with it. It is always up. Every time a single component is broken, it has been repaired within 24 hours.
The parts are hot swapable. We just get a part in the mail, and we are good to go. You literally walk in, pull one out, and put a new one in, then the thing is running again.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
The scalability is great. We just scaled up. We just bought the additional hard drive array for it, and we love it.
I don't think we are even utilizing 50 percent of the all-flash. We intentionally bought that anticipating growth.
Nimble is scalable and modular enough that you can take whatever solutions that you had in the past, pull those all together, and put them into a Nimble. It does all the things that we did before in a single package.
How are customer service and technical support?
The technical support is awesome. They are actually monitoring the device. When we have had a hard drive failure, we have found that we come into work, and they are notifying us that a hard drive failed overnight. We haven't even had a chance to look at it yet.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
The former CIO hadn't upgraded anything in almost 20 years. Everything that we had was completely outdated. We wanted to move to a more efficient solution for our on-premise stuff. We were also looking into things with the cloud, but that doesn't have a lot to do with Nimble, per se. We just needed to modernize.
We had all on-premise bare metal servers. We got rid of it four years ago, when they were still doing their backups to tape. This is why when we went to the Nimble. We cut our use of space down to about 25 percent.
What about the implementation team?
Our other systems administrator dealt with the integration of the product.
I think we used an integrator and a consultant. They were on campus for about five days, helping us integrate everything and move everything over.
What was our ROI?
For education, ROI is pretty hard to determine. However, that was part of the finance portion. Our chief financial officer sat down and did an ROI on it and came to the same conclusion that we did: Nimble is the right choice for us.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
We are paying for the licensing yearly.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We had Dell EMC, Nimble, and 3PAR come out. Our partner is Logicalis, and they set up all these interviews for us. We interviewed them one at a time. With our partner, we came to the decision that Nimble was the right choice for us.
There is nothing like it that we can buy that even comes close to this product. We looked at five different products, then we decided to go with Nimble. It is hands down the best device that was available to us.
What other advice do I have?
I would definitely point a colleague toward the Nimble product. Most of my peers are also at universities, and the product fits perfectly into what we are trying to do. As another administrator at another university, it will be key to what they are doing.
It has met all of our needs. We haven't had any issues.
They have been consistently innovating stuff and seeing it before we even think of the possible outcomes. We are consistently shocked by what is coming out.
We do HIPAA compliance as a university. Part of that compliance has to do with how we back up employee files, which we do on the cloud, but we don't use the Nimble for that.