Nimble Storage

Nimble Storage Overview:

Nimble Storage has created the industry's first flash-optimized storage engineered from the ground up for maximum efficiency. Nimble Storage solutions integrate the exceptional performance of flash with the favorable economics of high-capacity hard disk drives—making it ideal for storing and protecting data for all of your critical applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, server virtualization, and VDI.

Nimble Storage is built on the patented CACHE ACCELERATED SEQUENTIAL LAYOUT (CASL™) ARCHITECTURE and delivers:


  • Accelerated performance for higher throughput/IOPS and sub-millisecond latencies
  • Higher storage efficiency—reducing the storage footprint needed by 30 to 75 percent
  • Non-disruptive scaling-to-fit changing application needs through increased performance, or capacity, or both
  • Maximized data and storage availability with integrated data protection and disaster recovery
  • Simplified storage management and reduced day-to-day operational overhead



Nimble Storage Architecture

Nimble Storage solutions are built on the patented Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL™) architecture. CASL differs from the traditional bolt-on approach of using flash as a tier. Instead, CASL is designed from the ground up to leverage the lightning-fast random read performance of flash and the cost-effective capacity of hard disk drives. What's more, CASL incorporates innovative efficiency features, such as in-line variable-block compression, cloning, and integrated snapshots to store and serve more data in less space.


Some of CASL's key innovations include:

  • Dynamic flash-based read caching:
    CASL caches "hot" active data into a flash-based SSD in real time—without need to set any complex policies. This way it can instantly respond to read requests—as much as 10X faster than traditional bolt-on or tiered approach to flash.
  • Write optimized data layout:
    CASL collects or coalesces random writes to the array, compresses and writes them sequentially to disks. This results in write operations that are as much as 100x faster than traditional disk-based storage.
  • In-line compression:
    CASL compresses data as it is written to the array with no performance impact. It takes advantage of efficient variable block compression and multicore processors. A recent measurement of our install base shows average compression rates from 30% to 75% for a variety of workloads.
    CASL allows for the non-disruptive and independent scaling of performance and capacity. This is accomplished by either upgrading the storage controller (compute) for higher throughput, moving to larger flash SSD (cache) to accommodate more active data, by adding storage shelves to boost capacity, or by combining multiple arrays in to a single SCALE-OUT CLUSTER—scaling both performance and capacity beyond a single array.
  • Snapshots and integrated data protection:
    CASL can take thousands of point-in-time instant snapshots of volumes by creating a copy of the volumes' indices. Any updates to existing data or new data written to a volume are redirected to free space (optimized by CASL's unique data layout). This means there is no performance impact of snapshots and snapshots take little incremental space as only changes are maintained. This also simplifies restoring snapshots as no data needs to be copied.
  • Efficient replication:
    Nimble Storage efficiently replicates data to another array by transferring compressed, block-level changes only. These remote copies can be made active if the primary array becomes unavailable. This makes deploying disaster data recovery easy and affordable – especially over a WAN to a remote array where bandwidth is limited.
  • Zero-copy clones:
    Nimble Storage arrays can create snapshot-based read/writable clones of existing volumes instantly. These clones benefit from the fast read and write performance, making them ideal for demanding applications such as VDI or test/development.

Features and Benefits

Nimble Storage Features and BenefitsNimble Storage arrays are the industry's first flash-optimized storage designed from the ground up for efficiency. Built on the patented Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout (CASL™) architecture, highly-available controllers and the latest in storage technology, Nimble Storage arrays come with all the features you will need to consolidate and manage your data.

Nimble Storage Features Overview

Here are some of the key features that come standard in a Nimble Storage array:

Feature Function Core Functionality
Core Functionality
Dynamic Caching Reads active data from flash cache, which is populated on writes or first read Accelerate read operations, with sub-millisecond latency
Write-Optimized Data Layout Coalesces random writes and sequentially writes them to disk as a full stripe Accelerate writes as much as 100x, and get sub-millisecond latency and optimal disk utilization
Universal Compression Always-on inline compression for all workloads Reduce capacity needs 30-75% depending on the workload with no performance impact
Thin Provisioning Allocates disk space to a volume only as data is written Pool storage, share free space and maximize utilization
Scale-Out Clustering Combine multiple arrays into a scale-out storage cluster Linearly scale beyond performance and capacity limits of a single storage array while managing these multiple arrays as one
Instant Snapshot and Recovery Backup and restore data using point-in-time, space-efficient snapshots taken at regular intervals Retain months of frequent snapshots (improving RPO) with no performance impact--eliminating backup windows and speeding up restores (improving RTO)
Efficient Replication Copies compressed, changed data to the secondary site for disaster recovery Deploy affordable and verifiable disaster recovery and efficiently backup remote sites over the WAN
Zero-Copy Clones Create copies of existing active volumes without needing to copy data Create clones in seconds and save disk space – ideal for VDI and test/development
Host and Application Integration
Custom Application Profiles Pre-defined policies for block size, caching, compression and data protection for Microsoft applications and VMware Eliminate the need for manual tuning of storage including data protection configuration
Windows VSS Enablement Nimble Storage Driver for the Microsoft VSS framework for consistent backup Take application-consistent backups and simplify data protection for Exchange and SQL Server
VMware Integration Monitor, provision and take snapshots from VMware vCenter Manage storage from vCenter and take consistent backups of virtual machines
VMware Site Recovery Manager Adapter Support disaster recovery automation for VMware including failover/failback Simplifies disaster recovery, including testing failover/failback
Management and Support
Proactive Wellness Real-time monitoring and analysis; sends alerts on critical issues Spot and remedy potential issues, maximizing uptime, performance and utilization
Secure Remote Support Allows remote troubleshooting, configuration and problem resolution Reduce burden on IT staff and quickly resolve problems
Non-Disruptive Upgrades Upgrade software with no disruption to applications Maximize uptime and user productivity through continuous availability
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