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Startup Nimble Storage is taking a page out of NetApp’s playbook with its private cloud reference architecture put together with Cicso and Microsoft. And it is going beyond other storage vendors’ monitoring and analytics capabilities with its InfoSight services.
This week Nimble launched its SmartStack for Microsoft Windows Server and System Center reference architecture. It ncludes a three-rack unit of Nimble’s CS200 hybrid storage, Cisco UCS C-Series rackmount servers and Windows Server 2012 with Hyper-V and Microsoft Systems Center 2012. The reference architecture is designed to speed deployment of private clouds with up to 72 Hyper-V virtual machines.
Last October, Nimble rolled out a reference architecture for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) with Cisco and VMware.
The reference architecture model is similar to that of NetApp’s FlexPod, which also uses Cisco servers and networking. NetApp has FlexPod architectures for Microsoft and VMware’s hypervisors. EMC added Vspex reference architectures last year, two years after NetApp launched FlexPods.
Nimble’s InfoSight appears ahead of other storage vendors’ analytics services. It goes beyond “phone-home” features to collect performance, capacity, data protection and system health information for proactive maintenance. Customers can access the information on their systems through an InfoSight cloud portal.
What makes InfoSight stand out is the depth of the information amassed. Nimble claims it collects more than 30 million sensor values per array per day, grabbing data every five minutes. It can find problems such as bad NICs and cables, make cache and CPU sizing recommendations and give customers an idea of what type of performance they can expect from specific application workloads.
“Nimble collects a much larger amount of data than is traditionally done in the industry,” said Arun Taneja, consulting analyst for the Taneja Group. “Traditionally, an array would grab something from a log file at the end of the day. These guys are grabbing 30 million data points. Then they return that information proactively to users in the form of best practices and provide proactive alerts about product issues. I think everybody will end up there, but it might take five years. “