Went to a introduction to Nimble Storage devices http://www.nimblestorage.com/ attaching to Cisco UCS. Appears the pitch of Nimble for the UCS is iSCSI Boot. The iSCSI targets could also be presented as drives of course. If not familiar with iSCSI boot checkout this article Cisco UCS iSCSI Boot Through Appliance Ports Setup Video Read more: http://realworlducs.com/cisco-ucs-iscsi-boot-appliance-ports/
A Nimble device does not require Appliance Ports. Nimble devices can be attached to a common network to several UCS’s. Best if this is 10G.
Something that is enticing about Nimble Storage devices is a “Golden Image” LUN can through disc deduplication can be presented as a new iSCSI target. Have not tested this but this could be used for imaging similar to deploying from template like vSphere/ESX.
Unlike using SAN for a boot, all things are not handled in a Boot Profile. After a Service Profile is created each Boot Policy needs “Set iSCSI Boot Parameters” edited. See link above for details. This is a lot of extra work depending on number of blades. If this was automated via PowerShell life is better.
Overall this is a great option to get around needing SAN for boot and may be simpler. If deduplication could be used for imaging that is another big win for some. After testing iSCSI in the past on Isilon x400 series NAS found it SLOOOOW, but hope better from Nimble. Not sure if the slowness was the layer of abstraction from UCS or the Isilon device. A XIO boot SAN took about 3 minutes for a boot, and the Isilon was 13. This was over 1g though.
Nimble Storage Three-Minute Overview