Nimble Storage represents the most recent fuel for HPE’s acquisition-accelerated portfolio evolution and presents challenges for Lenovo as well as Cisco which were Nimble Storage partners, reports Krista Macomber of Technology Business research.

Plus: Watch a video of Nimble Storage’s strategy at

HAMPTON, N.H. – Nimble Storage joins a slew of recent acquisitions to quicken HPE’s adaptation to hybrid IT requirements.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s planned acquisition of flash-based data storage and management vendor Nimble Storage announced last week reflects the quickening data center industry transition from traditional, stand-alone spinning disk-based storage arrays, in favor of converged architectures and virtualized functionality.

It also exemplifies the volatility and convergence that these shifts in customer purchase behavior are inflicting on the vendor landscape. The slated integration of HPE and Nimble would unlock additional opportunities serving next-generation workloads, such as hybrid cloud service hosting, especially when factored in to HPE’s additional flurry of recently announced acquisitions, in particular, hyperconverged platforms provider SimpliVity and cloud consumption analytics provider Cloud Cruiser.

Furthermore, the deal would notch another significant point of competitive consolidation in the data center space spurred by HPE, forcing Nimble partners including Cisco Systems and Lenovo to create new alliances or potentially acquire in flash storage, storage performance monitoring and analytics, and hybrid IT management, while consolidating the roster of available pertinent solutions configurations for customers.

HPE and Nimble maintain distinct market perches, with the former an incumbent multiline data center infrastructure provider and the latter a flash storage market pure play. However, both are enduring financial challenges resulting from the commoditization of storage systems, which TBR believes are a leading catalyst driving the pending deal. While HPE, for its part, endures shrinking revenue and profit pools from legacy storage technologies, Nimble endures increasing operating losses despite robust revenue growth as a result of the heavy investment required for portfolio innovation and go-to-market differentiation.

Given these challenges, HPE and Nimble are moving toward a fast close of the transaction, expected in April. Immediately upon closing, Nimble’s all-flash array portfolio would fill a market gap for HPE between entry-level and enterprise-caliber offerings. From a longer-term perspective, HPE will tap Nimble storage innovation to significantly bolster its solution sets around hybrid IT. Most notably, Nimble’s InfoSight Predictive Analytics platform would bring enhanced storage monitoring, reporting, forecasting and planning capabilities that stand to substantially bolster HPE’s ability to address customers’ increasingly pressing need for storage agility and efficiency.

Additionally, just last month Nimble launched its Cloud Volumes offering for streamlined management of hybrid cloud resources. TBR anticipates integration of Nimble, SimpliVity and Cloud Cruiser technologies as significant accelerants, and increasingly foundational components, of HPE’s innovation and differentiation as it approaches the future-forward ecosystem of modern, data-centric and cloud-hosted workloads.

Although acquisitions quickly and significantly advance HPE’s market traction and innovation in critical corners of the data center market, this strategy creates the potential threats of scattershot branding and customer and partner confusion that will be critical for HPE to manage. In particular, HPE has historically heavily utilized acquisitions, most notably 3PAR and LeftHand Networks, to build its storage business, creating a large portfolio and multiple brands even without the Nimble and SimpliVity businesses.

TBR anticipates HPE will work toward speedy but agile and carefully constructed joint portfolio strategies, supported by close collaboration with and feedback from customers and partners. This feat will be challenging for HPE, but its more streamlined operating model will enhance its ability to execute. Additionally, the degree to which the companies can quickly integrate go-to-market processes with an eye to conveying not only the technological but also the business value of new solutions sets, will significantly influence their ability to thwart competition from Cisco, Dell Technologies, NetApp and others and jointly expand market share.