Nimble adds Fibre Channel and increases Hybrid System Capacity to 1.6PB

Nimble Storage has developed and marketed a successful line of iSCSI-based ‘hybrid’ storage arrays (disk and flash) designed for a wide range of use cases. These systems scale up, adding drive shelves behind a controller module, and scale out, clustering multiple controller stacks, to create storage systems in the petabyte range. Now Nimble as added fibre channel (FC) connectivity to their CS line of storage systems and increased the maximum raw capacity of their largest system to over 1.5PB.

Implemented with a dual-port, FC interface card, up to six 16Gb FC ports per controller are supported (in the CS700). Currently, users will have to choose either FC or Ethernet cards, but Nimble said their architecture was designed to support the mixing of FC and iSCSI in the same system, and we would see that capability in the near future.

They have also increased the raw capacity of both spinning disk and flash in the CS line by supporting larger capacity media and expanded the number of drive shelves each controller can support from three to six. The company said this doubling of drive shelves comes without any changes to processing power or architecture of the CS700 controller.

Base platforms max out at 48TB of raw capacity and expansion shelves increase to 60TB, thanks to the 4TB hard disk drives (HDDs) that are now available. And by supporting six expansion shelves, the total raw capacity of a Nimble CS700 system is just over 1.6PB.

Flash capacity has also increased with the availability of 1.6TB SSDs. This gives the all-flash shelf they introduced a few months ago the potential for 25.5TB of flash and puts the total flash capacity of a Nimble cluster at 160TB.

StorageSwiss Take

Nimble has been steadily moving up market, from their original positioning as a tier-2 storage appliance to now a replacement for enterprise FC SANs. The “Adaptive Flash” technology they announced this past summer along with the high-end CS700 controller and all-flash drive shelf clearly put enterprise features and functionality into this hybrid storage array that a few years ago was closer to a mid-market solution. With the addition of FC they now have the connectivity to go with the functionality required to play in the enterprise space as well.

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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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