Violin

Violin & Microsoft Take a New Approach to Scaling

Violin all-flash arrays with embedded Microft softwareViolin Memory and Microsoft have jointly announced a novel way of harnessing the power of Windows Server software.  Violin will be shipping its memory arrays with a special version of Windows Server 2012 R2 pre-installed on the embedded server that manages the internal operations of Violin’s all-flash array.

Violin explains that native support of specially-optimized versions of Windows Server and System Center that have been tuned for an all-memory array will provide improved performance and economics for large-scale enterprise cloud deployments.

The system can internally run Continue reading

Violin Ups Capacity, Performance, and Economics

Violin 6264 Flash Storage ArrayViolin Memory has introduced the 6264 array, doubling the capacity of its earlier 6232 product from 32 terabutes (TB) to 64TB, while remaining in the same form factor.  The company has done this by migrating to 19nm MLC NAND flash from Toshiba.

Violin says that this move was made possible by the fact that the company’s arrays aren’t built using standard SSDs, and claims that this has caused Violin’s all flash array revenues to be significantly higher than those of any of its competitors.

With this product the company doubles its power efficiency, when measured in watts per gigabyte, and boosts its Continue reading

Violin Bets on Both Sides

Where do SSDs FitViolin Memory today made some important announcements.  The company has introduced a new line of one-hop PCIe SSDs, and Toshiba will be carrying these as its own products.  This creates a tighter link between the two companies: Toshiba is already an investor in Violin, and Toshiba Japan already sells Violin’s memory arrays in Japan.

The new PCIe SSDs are based on Violin’s high-performance NAND management technology, and Violin claims that they offer a higher performance/price point that is available from any other PCIe SSD vendor. This is a key point because PCIe SSD performance varies across a very broad range.

But why does The SSD Guy say that Violin’s betting on both sides?  Ever since discrete SSDs started to find their way into the data center there has been a heated debate: Do SSDs belong on the server side of the network or as shared storage?  In a virtualized configuration all storage is shared to allow a task to easily move from one server to the next.  In an HDD-based system this makes a lot of sense, since an HDD’s latency is significantly larger than that of the network.  With SSDs that equation changes – the SSD’s latency is significantly lower than that of the network.  The network dramatically reduces the performance of the SSD, so it makes more sense to move that part of the storage into the server, but this breaks the “Shared Storage” model.

This post’s graphic comes from a slide that I have shown repeatedly explaining that it’s wrong to take sides in this argument.  Eventually solid state storage will find its way into both sides of the network.  In the server it serves as an alternative to large DRAMs, and if it is managed as memory and not as storage, then there will never be any data consistency problems.  Of course, most caching solutions also help in this regard, allowing server-side flash to be managed as persistent storage.  On the other side of the network flash as shared storage also makes a lot of sense since it accelerates access to shared storage, which is the basis for all virtualized systems.

Violin has taken this argument to heart, betting on flash adoption on both sides of the network, and is the first flash storage array start-up to do so.  It will now only be a matter of time before others fall in line.

Objective Analysis covers the enterprise SSD market very closely, issuing reports like our well-regarded annual update covering the enterprise SSD market: The Enterprise SSD: Technologies & Markets.  We also perform custom consulting in this area.  Clients who wish to engage with us are welcome to drop The SSD Guy a line.

 

The Week of CEO Changes

SSD Companies that Changed their CEOs Sept 17-19This week has gotten off to an odd start.  On Monday OCZ CEO Ryan Peterson resigned, after having built the company from a supplier of PC cases, power supplies and DRAM for gamers into a leading SSD maker, and then launching a successful IPO.  On Tuesday STEC’s CEO Manouch Moshayedi announced (via an SEC filing) that he will step down “pending resolution of a civil complaint filed against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission.”  Finally today Virident announced the hiring of Mike Gustafson of BlueArc repute to become CEO while former CEO and co-founder Kumar Ganapathy shifts his focus to business strategy, new product development and strategic partnerships.

What will Thursday and Friday bring? Continue reading

Big Data? Move the App to the Data

Inside Violin Memories' 6000-Series flash Memory ArrayIn Big Data circles there is a saying that it might be easier to move the application program to the data, rather than to move the data to the server where the application is working.  There’s a lot of wisdom in that.  The application is small and can move rapidly.  Big data takes time to move.

In that spirit at least one Violin Memory customer has decided to move their applications into the servers that reside within one of Violin’s 6000 Series flash Memory Arrays.  These are the two green boards running Continue reading