First and foremost, I would like to welcome Nimble to the public market and thank them. I attribute their successful entrance with the bump in the entire tech stock sphere and the increased awareness of the hybrid/flash array (if anyone hasn’t heard about these yet…). Secondly, I think competition is a good thing, especially in an emerging market. It keeps everyone honest and promotes innovation.
From a high level, Nimble has many things going for them. They have had a product in the market for a while now, a (reportedly) growing list of customers, and a successful IPO in a red-hot market. That said, they have many challenges they still need to face. In my opinion, their IPO is a symptom of their biggest challenge — an exit strategy. It’s a loaded comment, I know, but I believe the most viable option for a all-flash start-up is by acquisition. But even if they wanted to be acquired, all the giants already placed their bets on other startups, and some even made the decision to develop their own technology instead of buying a technology. Nimble had to go public. Whether their hand was forced or they did so on their own free will, their IPO was a success. Time will tell if they can convert their recent wins into a viable long-term business. Their first test will be with their quarterly results (their numbers close Jan, 31), but their long-term viability will be evident in their strategic vision and an ability to execute against that.
How do I really feel? There is a war underway flash space, and it’s already begun. Here are some highlights from the second half of this year: IBM acquires Texas Memory, Violin Memory goes public, EMC’s XtremIO becomes generally available, and Nimble goes public. Without a doubt, there is a lot of hype in this space, there are no clear winners yet, and there are real world use-cases and workloads that are demanding this technology. Will Nimble be able to play with the big boys? Ultimately, time will tell, but I’ll remain skeptical for now.