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Violin Memory Says Its Flash Memory-Based Arrays Ready For Tier-One Apps

Violin Memory introduced a new 6000 series of Flash-based storage arrays it says can take the place of high-end disk-based arrays for mission-critical applications.

Violin's new 6000 series of all-Flash memory arrays was designed to replace traditional tier-one storage arrays, said Don Basile, CEO of the Mountain View, Calif.-based vendor.

"For a tier-one array, you need not only performance but also availability," Basile said. "You need to be able to move tier-one applications like databases and ERP to the cloud. VMware has been good at moving the first 50 percent of applications to the cloud. Now we can help do the rest."

The new 6000 series arrays come in two versions.

The Violin 6616 is optimized for performance with the ability to perform at 1 million IOPS (I/Os per second). It includes a latency of only 200 microseconds, and handles up to 4 GBs per second of data. The 6616 can be configured with up to 12 TBs of useable SLC-based Flash-based capacity.

The Violin 6232 is optimized for capacity, with performance of 500,000 IOPS, 2.4 GBs per second bandwidth, and a 600-microsecond latency. It can be configured with up to 22 TBs of useable MLC-based Flash-based capacity.

A total of 10 Violin 6616 arrays can be combined in a rack to offer performance of up to 10 million IOPS with 40 GBs per second bandwidth, Basile said. To do that with traditional disk-based storage like the EMC Symmetrix, he said, would require up to 40 racks filled with 9,600 disk drives.

Flash-based storage arrays are coming to market from a number of smaller vendors, mainly startups, including Pure Storage and Nimbus Data.

Basile said that most all-Flash arrays are not targeting tier-one data. "We at Violin own all the IP (intellectual property) above the Flash memory," he said. "That gives us greater density and performance, And we can deliver NAND memory faster across new generations of arrays because of our partnership with Toshiba."

The Violin 6000 series of Flash-based primary storage arrays are currently shipping to strategic partners, and the company is now taking orders for wider sales starting early next year, Basile said.

Violin Memory sells its arrays through a handful of large solution providers including ePlus, Mainline, FusionStorm, and Force3, and has a direct sales team as well. Violin also works with IBM on joint sales of its arrays through that company's channels.

Violin also counts among its partners Hewlett-Packard, which OEM's Violin technology as part of that company's HP VMA-series Memory Arrays, or VMA. HP uses the Violin arrays as part of a database appliance with which to compete against the Oracle Exadata, Basile said.

Violin Memory currently has about 220 employees, with that number expected to grow to between 400 and 500 employees by January, Basile said. The company recently has received over $100 million in venture funding across three rounds, including strategic funding from Flash memory vendor Toshiba, networking vendor Juniper, and a large storage system vendor Basile declined to name.

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