The SME space holds big opportunity for Nimble Storage.
Nimble Storage is moving up in weight class. After primarily targeting small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), Nimble Storage is now setting its sights on higher-end application workloads.
The first signal of that shift came in the form of a certification from SAP (SAP), under which Nimble Storage systems have been validated in SAP HANA in-memory computing environments, previously the domain of storage stalwarts including EMC and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ). Nimble Storage CEO Suresh Vasudevan said the company is also working on algorithms that leverage its analytics technology to guarantee service levels for application workloads. In a world where multiple application workloads now routinely run on the same server, Vasudevan said IT organizations want to be able to prioritize I/O throughput based on how critical a particular application is to the business.
To help lead the sales effort associated with making that push, Nimble Storage recently named Denis Murphy vice president of Worldwide Sales. Murphy previously held sales and channel management positions at Riverbed, BlueArc Corp., EMC and Mercury Interactive. Prior to that, Nimble Storage reorganized its channel program to create tiers that recognized Gold and Silver partners that agreed to work more closely with the company to achieve specific targets.
As Nimble Storage proceeds upmarket, Vasudevan said the company will be looking to recruit additional channel partners that have expertise at that end of the market. Although Nimble Storage got its start in the SME space, the goal was always to ride advances in Intel x86 processor technology to build products capable of handing the storage I/O requirements of the most demanding mission-critical applications, he said.
With more than 5,000 customers now using its storage systems, Nimble Storage is starting to separate itself from a raft of storage startups that have emerged in recent years to challenge EMC, HP, Dell, IBM, NetApp and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). Historically, those vendors focused more of their efforts on the high end of the storage market, which created the opportunity for startups such as Nimble Storage in the first place. Since then, every major storage vendor has revamped its SME offerings. As those vendors get more aggressive in the SME space, Nimble Storage is now signaling it intends to compete across the entire storage market as well.
Of course, the degree to which Nimble Storage can replicate its success in the SME space in the higher end of the storage market remains to be seen. But the one thing that is for certain is that the fight will no doubt be fierce.