Nimble Storage Review

A lot of redundancies in all the right areas make it a stable solution


What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is to monitor my storage.

We are in radiology. Although most of our radiologists just read x-rays, there are moments when it is STAT read, where they have to read things ASAP. This applies to the emergency room and emergency departments. Sometimes, things need to be read, and it is a matter of life or death. This can also apply to cancers, detections, etc. Therefore, we need to make sure the storage stays up, and it is working. Then, our radiologists can do their job.

How has it helped my organization?

For us, it is about speed and stability. There are a lot of redundancies in place. I am able to access what I need to access. 

Our situation is sort of unique. We need fast disk for compute, but then we also need more traditional disk for our images. Having Nimble, where I can have both fast and traditional disk in one pane, and still see everything, is pretty awesome. 

We use InfoSight for predictive analysis because the answer to most of our problems is that, "It isn't our problem." However, we are being blamed for it. Thus, I can get my answers improved by using InfoSight that it isn't us causing the problem by going into it. For example, one of our applications was acting weird, and we had the application vendor on. They really couldn't answer much. As one of my troubleshoot methods, I said, "Let me check InfoSight." I logged in, and I could see a VM that was heavily pegged and almost in a critical-like status. That VM was the reason why the issue was the way it was. Now, It wasn't because of our infrastructure set up, it still was an application issue, but I was able to pinpoint exactly what it was based off of that.

That application with problems had about 30 servers. As I'm not an application vendor, I don't know which servers serve what purpose within the application. I was able to go into InfoSight, and it told me that one in particular needed to be worked on, so I didn't have to waste time looking at the other 29 servers. Therefore, I knew that one was the one that we work on, and that is the one that needs to be fixed.

What is most valuable?

We use a platform as a service and have multiple application vendors who comprise that platform. There are moments when those application vendors put the blame on us. By working in InfoSight, I am able to say, "No, it is not us." I can actually provide proof, either by using screenshots or through reporting. 

What needs improvement?

I wish they would put the InfoSight page back the way it was. I got in it for the first time about two years ago, and it looked the same for about a year and a half. Then, about six months ago, it changed. There are different options now. I can still get to where I need to go, but it feels like it takes longer, where before it didn't. Also, I felt like I had a lot more options before. I have to do a lot more to digging now to get to where I need to go. I just wish they had their old page back.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are a lot of redundancies in all the right areas, so it is pretty stable.

I get alerts, email, and texts that I regularly check a couple of times a day.

I check the solution's storage capacity a couple times a day. One of the tasks in the morning is someone on my team will go in and take a screenshot of exactly what our capacity is at the moment. Then, we are able to do trend analysis and some forecasting of when we think our capacity is going to be close to maximum or not.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I have already already grown it and added an extra array earlier last year. I still have room for more. So, the scalability is pretty good.

This solution is not for growth, but it can grow. We have the capability to grow, but we're not there yet.

How are customer service and technical support?

I rarely call the technical support, but when I do, they are good.

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

We did not have a previous solution.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. It is a lot of plug and play. Although, there was a diagram of instructions, which was maybe one sheet long. So, it was easy. A lot of that stuff was already ready for me.

What about the implementation team?

When I scaled up, the system came to me, and I did it myself.

We do use a reseller, Logicalis.

What was our ROI?

We are still too new with our product to know what the ROI is.

The solution has improved our throughput.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at other storage companies. The fact that I can incorporate both flash and spin into one pane, look at Nimble and still get solutions. For me, it was a no-brainer.

This was the discovery phase. We vetted out quite a few storage arrays. This one was the one that we all came in agreement with.

We looked at Hitachi and Pure Storage. The reason why Pure Storage was removed from our list was because they only offered flash. We needed both flash and spin. 

What other advice do I have?

At my previous place of employment, I mentioned to my previous boss about this solution because it would have been good at my prior place of employment. They were in a similar situation. They had flash, spinning disks, etc. However, they used Pure Storage, Hitachi, and even some Dell EMC. When you have so many different arrays, or so many different companies, that you have to work with, it is very easy when there is a problem for a vendor to point their finger at another vendor. For a better chance of a successful integration, keep the products (and vendors) down to a minimum.

I don't really have to do a whole lot to it. Plug it in, and it does its job successfully.

The performance was already good. This isn't a reactionary, but being proactive. We are doing these measures to ensure that we don't have an issue.

The biggest lesson learned is to keep using Nimble.

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