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BLOG: A conversation with Suresh Vasudevan, CEO of Nimble Storage

Larry Chaffin | May 16, 2013
How he is changing storage

5. Will we one day see move into new markets or vertical?

The addressable market we serve today is well over $10B, and while we are growing extremely fast, most of our opportunity lies ahead of us.  Consequently, we have no plans to move into new markets in the next few years.

The most frequent workloads we get deployed in include databases, mail deployments, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), file services and SharePoint deployments.  These workloads are common to companies across verticals and consequently, we tend to be deployed across wide range of vertical markets - financial service companies, manufacturing companies, high-tech companies, law firms and other professional services firms — we have hundreds of customers in all of these vertical markets.

6. Where do you see your products expanding to next, or options you will add to the current product?

Startups often launch an initial product that they then rapidly evolve based on feedback from early adopter customers.  We realized that such a strategy would not work in a mature market like storage where the minimum bar for a complete product offering has been established by very mature and very large vendors such as EMC and NetApp.  While we are very differentiated on our core capabilities, our rapid pace of customer adoption is also because we have quickly established parity on a range of features that are typically only to be found in mature products that have been around for a decade or so.

With that as context, we also continue to invest significantly in broadening our feature set.  Some of the areas that we continue to invest in include continued scaling of our platforms to further extend our price-performance advantage, deeper integration into application and hypervisor environments, further enhancing our already differentiated approach to data protection and so on.

7. I know many customers would like to hear where your products competes with other vendors.

The segment of the storage market we target is typically served by modular mid-range systems.  More specifically, over 90% of our competitive engagements are against the EMC VNX, NetApp's FAS products, Dell Compellent, Dell Equallogic and HP 3PAR products. 

Nearly 90% of our storage systems connect to virtualized servers, and the workloads that we often see are database workloads, Microsoft Exchange, virtual desktop infrastructure, file services and Microsoft Share Point deployments.

8. Do you see consolidation in the marketplace or more companies starting up in this space?

Both factors have simultaneously been at play in the following sense. 

  • If you look at market share over time, EMC and NetApp have both been gaining share at the expense of server companies that have systematically lost share, as more and more of the storage market has been networked storage and not direct attached storage.
  • At the same time, start-ups have consistently demonstrated an ability to deliver innovation and grow quickly into significant storage companies, before being acquired by the larger vendors. In this sense, it seems that new multi-billion dollar storage product lines have mostly been created by startups that have been able to innovate better than large companies.


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