Violin Embeds Symantec Data Management In Its Flash-Based Storage Arrays

Violin has been working with Symantec for about one and a half years to incorporate data management capabilities into its arrays, said Narayan Venkat, vice president of products for the Mountain View, Calif.-based flash-based storage array vendor.

"We wanted to incorporate a set of data management capabilities in our platform in order to have those capabilities run at the speed of memory," Venkat said.

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Violin, which this Spring closed a new funding round worth $50 million, is embedding such data management capabilities as snapshots, clone copies, deduplication, replication and thin provisioning in its arrays with support from Symantec, Venkat said. Prior to the collaboration, customers who wanted those features had to use tools from other applications.

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"But, customers want to do these natively on our box," he said. "This broadens our market appeal in VDI [virtualized desktop infrastructure], virtualization and other areas where customers extensively use data management tools."

This is the first time that Violin, which is a pioneer in the flash memory-based storage array market, has worked with a software vendor with the market reach of Symantec to add functionality to its products.

Venkat said Violin earlier this year demonstrated the ability to build flash array-based database appliance, cloud infrastructures and VDI-in-a-box offerings with Microsoft's Windows Server 2012. However, he said, the Microsoft relationship so far has been limited to demonstrations of what can be done, and it is not expected to result in products until early next year.

Going forward, Violin's flash storage arrays will include the Symantec snapshot, clone and thin provisioning technology at no charge, while a separate license will be required for deduplication and replication features, Venkat said.

Adding native deduplication to Violin's arrays is an especially interesting possibility given the price-performance dynamics of flash storage, Venkat said.

"Our arrays are currently street priced at $5 to $8 per GB of raw capacity," he said. "With a three-times to five-times dedupe ratio, flash storage becomes very affordable, especially since our storage provides 1 million IOs per second in a 3U box today. You would need four racks of EMC Symmetrix to do 1 million IOPS. We do it in 3U."