Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced today that it has agreed to acquire Nimble Storage, a San Jose, Calif.-based provider of predictive all-flash and hybrid-flash storage solutions, for about $1 billion. HPE will also assume or pay out Nimble's unvested equity awards, which are worth about $200 million. The acquisition will help establish HPE's position as a leader in the all-flash market, the company said.

"Nimble's predictive flash offerings for the entry to midrange segments are complementary to HPE's scalable midrange to high-end 3PAR solutions and affordable MSA [modular smart array] products," the company said in a statement. "This deal will enable HPE to deliver a full range of superior flash storage solutions for customers across every segment."

A Fast-Growing Market

Flash storage is a fast-growing market and an increasingly important element of hybrid IT environments. The overall flash market was estimated to be approximately $15 billion in 2016 and is expected to be nearly $20 billion by 2020, with the all-flash segment growing at a nearly 17 percent compound annual growth rate, according to HPE.

In addition, HPE said it plans to incorporate Nimble's InfoSight Predictive Analytics platform across its storage portfolio to enable a stronger, simplified support experience for HPE customers. For example, InfoSight automatically detects 90 percent of all issues within a customer's infrastructure, and resolves over 85 percent of them, the company said. That should reduce the amount of time and effort a customer's IT team spends on support activities.

Nimble was founded in 2007 and has approximately 1,300 employees worldwide. Its application performance in its entry to midrange flash storage solutions is backed by a predictive analytics engine that delivers a simplified customer experience, HPE said.

In addition to storage, Nimble's analytics platform analyzes performance issues across the full data path, from apps to the array, and resolves most issues before they occur. Nimble has also recently introduced multicloud storage services that combine on-premises and public cloud storage capabilities for hybrid IT deployments.

Hybrid and All-Flash Storage

Among the benefits HPE's clients will experience thanks to the addition of Nimble's services to its portfolio are the ability to move and replicate data seamlessly across hybrid flash and all-flash storage to meet unpredictable IT demands.

HPE clients will also have access to integrated data protection with application aware snapshots, encryption, replication and integration with leading independent software vendors, while being able to manag storage volumes along with data compaction to reduce capacity costs.

"Customers deploying hybrid IT not only need the performance of flash storage but are looking for predictive intelligence to optimize their infrastructure," said Antonio Neri, executive vice president and general manager of HPE's enterprise group, in a blog post.. "With Nimble Storage and 3PAR, we can now deliver on those storage needs and provide more effective on-premises control and performance, at public cloud economics."

Following the completion of the tender offer, expected to be completed in April, Nimble will merge with a subsidiary of HPE and become a wholly owned subsidiary of HPE.