Today: Analyst says San Jose's Nimble Storage makes data storage exciting -- and its public debut certainly was, as its shares soared more than 60 percent. Also, Adobe (ADBE) and Twitter stock hit new highs.

The Lead: Nimble Storage hits the sweet spot in transformed storage industry

San Jose's Nimble Storage jumped onto Wall Street on Friday at a seemingly perfect time for initial public offerings and the data-storage sector, resulting in a skyrocketing valuation.

The six-year-old company sold 8 million shares at $21 apiece, raking in $168 million at a valuation of $1.48 billion, then saw those shares zoom more than 50 percent higher in Friday's market debut. Nimble shares, trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NMBL, traded in a range from $29.51 to $35.13 before closing at $33.93, a 61.6 percent gain from the IPO price.

Arun Taneja, founder and consulting analyst of independent storage-industry analysis firm Taneja Group, explained that Friday's booming stock price represents the seismic shift rumbling through the sector because of storage startups like Nimble.

"For a very long time, storage has been a boring business," he said in a telephone interview Friday, explaining that enterprise data storage has changed very little in the past 20 years while being dominated by the likes of EMC, NetApp, IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ).

"The gap between how fast we can crunch data on a computer, and how fast we can store it or get it out of storage, has been growing steadily," Taneja said. "I can compute faster and faster and faster, but I can't store the data any faster, I cannot read the data any faster."

Nimble's hybrid storage infrastructure is changing that long-standing issue, however, and disrupting the industry by combining flash memory -- utilized by the previous generation of storage startups like Fusion-IO -- and hard drives.

Nimble's product "is not 20 percent easier to manage, it's a 10x factor. Instead of taking 10 hours, it only takes one hour to do the same task," Taneja explained, adding that it's also "way less expensive, takes less power, and performs better."

Usually, when these disruptive technologies arrive, the behemoths already in the market just produce copycats, but Taneja and Nimble CEO Suresh Vasudevan say that path will not be possible in this case.

"These are multibillion dollar product lines that need a ground-up rethinking, and that is going to be hard for any large company to do," Vasudevan told The Mercury News in a Friday interview.

"You can't sell me a zebra and call it a tiger," Taneja said.

Meanwhile, earlier startups such as Fusion-IO and Violin Memory -- both of which have suffered on Wall Street -- do not have the reach of Nimble.

"Nimble is playing in 100 percent of the (enterprise) storage market, ... but the segment of the market that is available to Violin or Fusion-IO is actually much smaller because they are at the very high end of delivering capacity and performance."

As this disruption continues to shake out, Taneja said, the larger players will likely look to acquisitions to catch up, with that next phase of change in the storage industry likely six months to a year out. The analyst even believes Nimble could be acquired by a big-money tech giant in the next 18 months, even with a market cap that now easily tops $2 billion and roughly matches the total HP paid for Fremont storage vendor 3Par in 2010.

"It's going to be a question of who do they hurt most," Taneja said, mentioning EMC, IBM, Dell and HP as possible candidates.

In the meantime, Nimble and similar hybrid storage vendors have at least a three-year window where they can control the majority of the market, Taneja said, with fresh competition from all-flash startups like Mountain View's Pure Storage, which has brought in the largest funding round many have seen in the sector.

SV150 market report: Adobe rockets to record highs, Twitter keeps gaining

Wall Street indexes stalled out Friday and Silicon Valley stocks joined in, producing a slight decline despite huge gains from Adobe and yet another record-breaking day for Twitter.

Adobe reached record intraday and closing highs Friday, moving as high as $61.09 before closing with a 12.8 percent gain at $60.89 after announcing quarterly earnings Thursday afternoon. The San Jose software company cut its profit projections for the next three years, but rapid adoption of its cloud-subscription offering cheered investors and analysts. "Adobe was one of the first to see this new world coming and they adapted quicker than any of the other software companies," UBS analyst Brent Thill told Bloomberg News. "It was painful up front, but now they're reaping the benefits."

Twitter completed a full week of record high closing prices, gaining 6.6 percent to $59 despite a user outcry against a revised blocking policy that forced the San Francisco company to reverse its change just hours after it was revealed. Twitter's quick rise isn't scaring all the analysts covering the stock: RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney raised his price target from $33 to $60, writing, "Twitter compares reasonably well with more-established platforms such as Google (GOOG) and Facebook in terms of effectiveness, ad spend, and growth." Facebook also gained on the day, increasing 2.9 percent to $53.32.

Some of Silicon Valley's largest companies declined Friday, leading to the SV150's slight decline. Apple (AAPL) fell 1.1 percent to $554.43 and seemingly hurt fellow SV150 company Opentable with a patent for a system to claim restaurant reservations. Google declined 0.9 percent to $1,060.79 despite an analysts' pronouncement of gains for the Google Play store and reports that Google will look to make its own server chips, which could hurt Intel (INTC); the Santa Clara chipmaker fell 0.7 percent to $24.29. Cisco (CSCO) and Oracle (ORCL) continued the slides they began suffering Thursday, with the San Jose networking giant falling 1.3 percent to $20.24 and the Redwood City software company declining 1.1 percent to $33.23. Netflix (NFLX) fell 1.2 percent to $368.97 while playing up the benefits of binge watching, but Electronic Arts (ERTS) jumped 6 percent to $22.22.

Up: Adobe, Twitter, EA, Facebook, Pandora, Gilead, Intuit (INTU), SanDisk, SunPower (SPWRA), Yahoo (YHOO), NetApp, HP, eBay (EBAY), Workday, Salesforce

Down: SolarCity, Cisco, Netflix, Oracle, Apple, LinkedIn, Symantec, Google, VMware, Intel, Zynga, Nvidia, Yelp, Splunk

The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Down 1.68, or 0.12 percent, to 1,433.79

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Up 2.57, or 0.06 percent, to 4,000.98

The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Up 15.93, or 0.1 percent, to 15,755.36

And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 0.18, or 0.01 percent, to 1,775.32

Check in weekday afternoons for the 60-Second Business Break, a summary of news from Mercury News staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.