Violin Memory Scores $50 Million From Investors, Including SAP

With the investment, SAP joins Toshiba and Jupiter Networks as strategic investors in the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

Violin Memory CEO Don Basile said that this new round of funding brings the total invested in his company to $155 million.

[Related: New Flash Memory, SSD Devices Drive Storage, Application Performance ]

Violin Memory has no specific plans for use of the funding, Basile said. "We felt it was a good idea to protect ourselves against the economic environment, including the downturn in the Euro zone," he said. "Also, the IPO market was basically closed last year, but has reopened this year. We were chatting about an IPO in the past, but now we're looking at the public market seriously."

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SAP's investment stems from a move by software vendors to look for the best way to accelerate their applications' performance, Basile said. Violin Memory is the only company in the Flash-based primary storage array market to set performance records with all the major software vendors. "We help software be faster and more efficient for customers' businesses," he said. "So we spend a lot of time working with the software divisions of our customers."

Violin has been shipping production units of its flash memory arrays for about 22 months, Basile said. The company's primary competition includes EMC and Oracle, the latter via its Exadata database appliance. It also occasionally competes against storage arrays from NetApp, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM, he said.

"We're a full systems vendor," he said. "Our arrays are plug-in replacements for enterprise arrays. Customers don't use our products as caching appliances or other SSD devices."