My goodness, it has been a busy couple of weeks in the data storage business. I suppose we have all figured out that announcing new wares at VMworld is a lost cause. The signal to noise ratio on the Moscone Center floor is just too much. Pure Storage announced their newest all-flash array, Fusion-IO announced their Atomic Series PCIe flash adapters, we at Tegile Systems launched our T-Series hybrid and all-flash arrays and yesterday, Nimble Storage announced “Adaptive Flash” and their CS700 hybrid array. I can’t imagine the flurry of briefing calls, specification reviews and cost claim validations members of the press and analyst community have been through this month. I appreciate the enthusiasm and support all you have given Tegile. You know who you are – thank you so much. Of course, when you have a hot market like data storage, we are bound to hear some weird statements made from the pundits. One that caught my eye was in Chris Mellor’s article titled “Networked mutant flash-disk beast Nimble to smack flashy rivals with ‘high-end’ boxen; Fellow upstarts, behold: It’s a Tegile-type effort”. First and foremost – I love the article titles Chris and the team at The Register come up with – always creative and punchy. What caught my eye was the first part of a quote from William Blair’s Jason Ader regarding comments made by Nimble CEO Suresh Vasudevan Chris put in the article: “Management noted that ZFS-based Tegile uses a classic data-tiering architecture that gives Nimble a cost per performance advantage . . .” Now, I’ve known Chris Mellor for a long time – he is one of the most wicked smart members of the technical press I know, and has always been very kind to Tegile Systems. He knows very well that our arrays use a superior caching algorithm that optimizes both read and writes with DRAM and our low-latency eMLC SSDs. So why the quote? I can only come up with one reason – he wanted to expose the erroneous comment made by Mr. Vasudevan. You’re a sly one, Mr. Mellor. Now, I don’t expect the CEO of a competitor to know the ins and outs of another firm’s architecture. Additionally, I will give Mr. Vasudevan tons of credit for building a company that has executed extremely well. Good job, sir. I will, however, take the opportunity to explain that Tegile’s IntelliFlash architecture with superior caching algorithms, data reduction technologies that feature compression and de-duplication, unified block and file protocols put Tegile in the position to be a formidable competitor in both the hybrid and all-flash segments of the market.
While I am at it, I have a question: does it seem like Nimble is trying to distance itself from the hybrid storage category? Watching the launch video recorded by Silicon Angle, I started getting confused at about the 23:00 mark, when Nimble VP of Products and Alliances, Radhika Krishnan, started talking about how Adaptive Flash removes the tradeoffs between performance and capacity that hybrid storage induces. Uhhhh . . . I look at the CS700 specifications – it is a hybrid array. No ifs ands or buts. Nowhere do I see a software feature like Tegile’s FlashVols that creates a volume that can be pinned to an all-flash pool in the hybrid array to guarantee an all-flash experience with low and consistent latency for that volume. [Ed Note: reader nnaammee posted that you can pin a volume into Nimble through their CLI. (because that’s the easy way?)] So, how does slapping an all-flash expansion shelf in a hybrid array make that hybrid array not hybrid? Sorry that sounded like “how much wood could a woodchuck chuck . . .” I think the cameraman was getting confused too. At about 26:12, the camera starts wiggling around a bit. I have to imagine he accidentally hit the camera with his elbow when he reached up to scratch his head in bewilderment. Backing up from some of the weirdness I read and heard yesterday, I would like to say congratulations to all of the upstarts in our market. As IDC identified in their latest tracker statistics, we as a collective group are beginning to take more and more share from the big boys. That’s the goal – well done, gang.