Storage Soup

Aug 30 2014   11:54PM GMT

Nimble claims record revenue, 663 new customers in fiscal Q2

Carol Sliwa Carol Sliwa Profile: Carol Sliwa

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Nimble Storage Inc. hit record numbers with $53.8 million in revenue and 663 new customers during its fiscal second quarter and closed 444 deals in excess of $100,000 for the 12-month period ending on July 31.

The San Jose, California-based storage vendor, which specializes in hybrid arrays that combine flash and hard disk drives, may have caused some of the major storage incumbents to prick up their ears with the release of its financial results for the 2015 fiscal second quarter, which ran through July. Nimble surpassed its own guidance and beat its Q2 2014 revenue by 89%.

Although Nimble posted a second-quarter net loss of $26 million, the company claimed it remains on track to break even and achieve profitability by Jan. 31, 2016, the end of its next fiscal year.

“That’s about six quarters away, and in the meantime, we’ve talked about investing for growth,” CFO Anup Singh said during the Nimble’s earnings call. Singh noted R&D investments in scale-out capabilities and its Adaptive Flash Platform, both of which launched in the first half of the year, and support for Fibre Channel enterprise storage networking, which is due in the fourth quarter.

Nimble also shipped a new CS700 Series high-end array and All-Flash Shelf in connection with the June release of the Adaptive Flash Platform, which combines its cache-accelerated sequential layout (CASL) file system and InfoSight cloud-based management and support system.

“We had a lot of excitement coming out of the major launch, and that led to record net new customer acquisitions and increased follow-on sales,” said Dan Leary, vice president of marketing at Nimble. “Our existing customers who were looking for more performance purchased additional systems. Scale-out benefited us because of their ability to cluster those systems together. And all of that really helped in delivering the really strong results that we had for the quarter.”

The new high-end CS700 factored into the largest deal ever for Nimble – a seven-figure transaction with a large government agency, according to Leary. The agency, which Leary declined to name, chose Nimble storage for its performance-sensitive Oracle databases, VMware server farm, mission-critical vertical applications and video repositories.

Nimble CEO Suresh Vasudevan said the customer’s CIO told him, “The single biggest factor that drove the deal was InfoSight.” InfoSight was able to troubleshoot problems with the agency’s network on two or three occasions, and the experience caused the CIO to think the Nimble system could support the organization’s environment better than products from some larger storage vendors, according to Vasudevan.

Nimble, which incorporated in Jan. 2008 and went public in Dec. 2013, has been trying to expand its customer base beyond the mid-sized companies that factored into the majority of its early sales. Leary said the bulk of the early customers were typically in the range of 250 to 2,500 employees with a storage footprint of 10 TB to 100 TB.

With the release of its financial results this week, Nimble noted that its installed base of large enterprises stood at 235 at the end of its 2015 fiscal second quarter, up from 130 on July 31, 2013. (The company defines a large enterprise as a Global 5000 company, according to Leary.) The current roster of 3,756 customers includes seven of the global top 50, 13 of the top 100 and 53 of the global top 500 enterprises, according to Nimble.

Cloud service providers represented another substantial area of growth. Nimble claimed to have 156 cloud service provider customers on July 31, 2013 and 341 by the end of last month. And the cloud service providers increase the amount they spend by 3.5 times over a two-year time frame after their initial purchases, according to Nimble. For Global 5000 customers, the multiplier is 3.3.

Yet, despite the flurry of activity with large customers, Nimble’s average selling price remained flat.

“We are growing the number of large deals substantially, which is moving the average sale price up, but at the same time, we’re also acquiring record numbers of new customers, and there’s a lot of smaller customers with that,” said Leary. “You blend those two together, and it’s kept our average selling price roughly flat for the past few quarters. And to us, that’s not a bad thing. We want to be doing both.”

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