Nimble fills out their Adaptive Flash Line

Nimble announced two new models to their “Adaptive Flash” line of hybrid disk and flash storage systems. These arrays, the CS300 and CS500, are updated versions of Nimble’s CS200 and CS400 products, respectively, providing a 50% performance improvement over the previous models. Both feature the Intel IvyBridge processor, with the CS300 having 12 cores and the CS500 having 20 cores.

Users can add up to three expansion shelves for a maximum capacity of just over 250TB. And, like the new CS700, both the CS300 and CS500 support an all-flash expansion shelf, giving these systems the ability to provide up to 16TB of flash with a disk to flash capacity ratio of 2:1.

The CS300 is designed for mid-sized environments providing the best capacity per $ for workloads like Microsoft applications, VDI or virtual server implementations. The CS500 provides better performance and IOPS per $, ideal for larger-scale virtual deployments, big data analytics or high-transaction databases.

Adaptive Flash

The CS300 and CS500 arrays extend Nimble’s “Adaptive Flash” platform, a technology designed to address a wider range of use cases with a single flash-based system. Using Nimble’s Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL) and integrated data protection capabilities, Nimble systems’ greater “performance density” enables them to replace much larger capacity disk array storage systems. InfoSight is another technology that helps increase system performance and optimize scaling configurations.


InfoSight captures operational information from the Nimble array to support predictive health and maintenance, but also gives users the ability see how workloads are affecting the storage volumes, which ones are cache starved and which may have too much cache. It provides information on capacity and controller CPU utilization, essentially the intelligence required to adjust the mix of flash and configure the capacity and performance levels of the system for greater efficiency.

Nimble collects this data from their installed base and uses it to develop optimal cache-to-disk ratios, data that it makes available to users and channel partners. In fact, in this meeting Nimble told us that in most environments they’re finding that less than 10% of total data stored is really “cache worthy”.

This kind of intelligence is important to optimizing Nimble systems which have so much flexibility, from the drive level (HDDs or SSDs), to the system level (drive shelves or all-flash shelves) or the cluster level by combining systems. Nimble calls this “scale to fit”, adding capacity, performance or a combination of the two in the right ratios as dictated by InfoSight.

StorageSwiss Take

These two new systems make it easier for companies to find a hybrid array that will replace their legacy hard drive storage systems, especially for environments that need more performance. But with the increase in CPU power and the ability to add an all-flash shelf, up to 16TB of raw flash capacity, Nimble’s systems can be an attractive option for a wider range of high-capacity and high-performance workloads.

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Eric is an Analyst with Storage Switzerland and has over 25 years experience in high-technology industries. He’s held technical, management and marketing positions in the computer storage, instrumentation, digital imaging and test equipment fields. He has spent the past 15 years in the data storage field, with storage hardware manufacturers and as a national storage integrator, designing and implementing open systems storage solutions for companies in the Western United States.  Eric earned degrees in electrical/computer engineering from the University of Colorado and marketing from California State University, Humboldt.  He and his wife live in Colorado and have twins in college.

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2 comments on “Nimble fills out their Adaptive Flash Line
  1. Adam Liszewski says:

    Can you clarify Intel family used? Other reports put the cs300/cs500 using sandy bridge. Your article makes more sense based upon the cs700 also having ivy bridge. Are the cs210/cs215 sandy bridge? Thanks.

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