Violin Memory Teams With Microsoft To Embed Windows Storage Server 2012 In All-Flash Array

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That drop in application server CPU utilization is huge, Herzog said. "Instead of an application server doing a bunch of storage functions, SMB Direct and RDMA push those functions to the storage array to free up the application server performance," he said.

Herzog said the enhanced performance are application-based numbers, not storage numbers. "Most CIOs are not storage experts," he said. "They want to know how fast the applications perform. These SQL and Hyper-V numbers resonate better with the app owners."

Violin Memory's Windows Flash Array is designed as a single device with two clustered blade servers running Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 as an active-active two-node cluster, Herzog said. Each array is configured with 64 TB of raw flash storage capacity.

"Sixty-four TB is becoming the most popular all-flash storage capacity," he said. "We're also looking at smaller capacity models in the future."

The Windows Flash Array scales to up to four arrays or eight server nodes in a single cluster with a total capacity of 256 TB of all-flash storage capacity that can be presented as a single large storage volume or carved up as needed, he said.

It also includes a 10-Gbit Ethernet network card that provides RDMA-enabled access over IP networks, giving it better performance at a lower cost than Fibre Channel, he said. A version with InfiniBand also is slated to ship in the near future, he said.

While the Windows Flash Array is optimized to run in Windows environments, it also can be run in non-Windows environments, Herzog said. However, that would require connecting to the array via iSCSI, which would result in performance basically the same as Violin Memory's current Violin Flash Array, as it would not be able to take advantage of the SMB Direct and RDMA capabilities, he said.

Shepard said one advantage of the Windows Flash Array not mentioned by Violin Memory is the fact that the new array means the vendor no longer is tied to Symantec.

"Violin has used Symantec replication technology, which adds to the cost while keeping control of the upgrades in Symantec's hands," Shepard said. "If Violin Memory builds in Windows Storage Server, they can use Microsoft tools instead. This is a huge deal for them. That makes them in charge of their own upgrades."

The Windows Flash Array is slated to ship this week with a list price of about $700,000 per array, which is about the same price as the company's Violin Flash Array, Herzog said.



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