Bumpy ride predicted as HPE storage absorbs Nimble SANs
The foremost challenge is winnowing product overlap between #Nimble’ s #predictiveflash arrays and its own midrange #HPE storage, said Kieran Harty, CTO at competing hybrid and flash vendor Tintri, based in Mountain View, Calif. HPE’s flagship storage product is the #3PAR #StoreServe arrays that range from entry-level to high-end enterprise use cases. HPE also sells MSA hybrid arrays, StoreEasy NAS and StoreVirtual hybrid arrays to small and midsize data centers. Nimble sells its Adaptive Flash hybrid and Predictive All Flash AF-Series arrays mostly to midmarket customers. HPE last week said it would pay $1.2 billion for Nimble, and the vendor expects to close the deal in April. “There is a huge overlap in the combined product line. HPE 3PAR started at the high end and pushed down [with array models] in the $20,000 price range,” Harty said. “Nimble Storage goes from the very low end to fairly high end. I think the product positioning is going to be messy and quite confusing for customers.” There also could be confusion as HPE storage teams compete with their Nimble counterparts for priority in the research and development and engineering budgets. As the flagship platform, 3PAR is expected to take precedence. “It’s always hard for engineering teams to give up their baby, but somebody has to give up something for HPE to rationalize the product line,” Harty said. HPE could use Nimble to phase out StoreVirtual — formerly LeftHand Networks’ technology — and return 3PAR to the high-end enterprise market, said Rob Commins, vice president of product marketing at hybrid array vendor Tegile Inc., based in Newark, Calif. “The 3PAR software has really strong federated data protection and replication that Nimble Storage does not have. This gives HPE an opportunity to have a big-iron play to go against [ #DellEMC ] #VMAX,” Commins said. The Nimble deal comes a month after HPE completed the buyout of hyper-convergence vendor #SimpliVity. Mohit Aron, founder and CEO of converged secondary storage vendor Cohesity Inc., based in Santa Clara, Calif., said the line between hyper-convergence and SAN arrays is blurring. Aron also founded hyper-converged pioneer Nutanix, which was SimpliVity’s chief rival. “With both Nimble and SimpliVity, HPE now has the technology components to strengthen its hyper-converged offerings — albeit for primary workloads — across small to large enterprises,” Aron said. But HPE has a spotty history of handling cultural integration, said Mike Grandinetti, chief marketing and corporate strategy officer at Reduxio Systems, based in South San Francisco, Calif. And now, it is trying to integrate two storage vendors simultaneously. “The fact they’re trying to digest not one, but two storage companies in such a short period doesn’t bode well for a vendor that already struggles to integrate its acquisitions,” Grandinetti said.