Nimble Storage said it is shipping a combined primary and backup storage appliance in a single array that uses flash memory in combination with high-capacity drives.

Dubbed the Nimble CS210, the device is designed to provide high performance at a low price point.

“Smaller firms have all the challenges of the enterprise for functionality, features, and performance in a SAN, but on a smaller scale and with more constrained budgets,” a Nimble statement said.

The system has a usable capacity of up to 8 TB, making it an appropriate primary storage and backup appliance for smaller IT organizations, the statement continued.

The CS210 performs backups from instant to instant using the same array as primary storage does, taking seconds each without affecting storage performance.

For data recovery, Nimble’s CS210 will hold from 60 to 90 days worth of compressed, block-level incremental snapshots on high-capacity disk at scheduled intervals, the company said.

The CS210 holds a “hot” copy of active data in flash memory, enabling the system to perform fast reads, while simultaneously storing data on high-capacity disk for fast writes to both flash and disk using sequential data layout.

Additionally, the system uses inline data compression that, instead of storing information as fixed-size blocks, stores them as variable-length blocks, using what’s called Cache Accelerated Sequential Layout, or CASL. This, Nimble claims, provides compression of 50 to 75 percent without adding latency.

“CASL allows organizations to reduce their capital expenditures for storage and backup while eliminating the need for separate, disk-based backup,” the company’s statement said.

“The CS210 [also] provides simplified application management and VM-consistent backups for Microsoft and VMware environments,” the company added.

Further, the array allocates blocks of data on demand, which all but eliminates allocation of unwritten space. Also, through a process it calls “zero copy cloning,” the Nimble CS210 enables copying of complete storage volumes without appreciably increasing storage requirements.

In order to provide high-availability, the unit includes redundant, hot-swappable controllers and power supplies with mirrored NVRAM.

The Nimble CS210 starts at $38,000.

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