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HPE Refreshes Nimble Storage Lineup and Introduces Storage Efficiency Guarantee

Buyers of all-flash models in the Nimble storage family, which are now equipped to support storage class memory and NVMe technology, receive extra capacity free if they can prove that a competitor’s product is better at converting raw capacity to effective capacity. By Rich Freeman

Hewlett Packard Enterprise has consolidated and refreshed its Nimble line of storage arrays, and backed the all-flash units with a storage capacity guarantee.

The all-flash products, which were previously available in five different SKUs, now come in four varieties instead. The entry-level AF20/20Q offers 11 TB of raw capacity, while the high-end AF80 provides 4 PB of raw storage space at seven milliseconds of latency. The midrange AF40 and AF60, according to Palo Alto, Calif.-based HPE, deliver up to 220 percent better price-performance than their equivalents in Nimble’s previous all-flash portfolio.

All of those new models now feature a “Store More Guarantee” designed to assure buyers that Nimble arrays are the most efficient all-flash units in the market. Going forward, customers who can prove to Nimble during pre-sales product evaluations that a comparable all-flash array from another manufacturer does a better job of translating raw capacity to effective capacity, HPE will make up the difference free of charge.

“We continuously tell customers that we provide the most effective capacity of any all-flash array on the market,” says David Kresse, vice president and general manager of HPE’s Nimble group. “Now we're taking that a step further and basically putting our money where our mouth is.”

HPE has also equipped its new all-flash products to support storage class memory (SCM) and NVMe, both of which are expected to improve storage performance dramatically when they reach mainstream status later.

“Customers will be able to take advantage of those new technologies without having rip and replace the array,” Kresse says.

The new lineup of hybrid Nimble offerings combine what used to be separate families of “adaptive flash arrays” for use with primary production storage workloads and “secondary flash arrays” for use in test and development scenarios, among others. In the past, only secondary flash arrays had always-on inline deduplication. With one exception, all of the SKUs in the new hybrid lineup provide that capability.

The exception is a new product called the HF20C, which is optimized for use with video, audio, and other media files that require large volumes of storage but don’t benefit significantly from deduplication. Available at prices similar to the low-end HF20, the HF20C provides approximately 2 PB of capacity, versus the HF20’s 11 TB.

“Customers are looking for something that's effectively cheap and deep,” Kresse says.

Other devices in the new hybrid family include the mid-tier HF40, which offers up to 150 percent better price-performance than its predecessor, and the top-tier HF60, which is up to 65 percent faster than its earlier equivalent.

All of the products in the new Nimble line are available immediately. HPE plans to issue an end-of-life announcement for its older Nimble systems soon.

“You will have a good period of time to continue to buy that old generation of products,” Kresse says, adding that HPE will continue to support them for five years beyond the official EOL date.

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