Violin Memory Plots Exit From PCIe Flash Storage Business, Lays Off 100

Flash memory technology developer Violin Memory on Thursday said it is restructuring to focus on the flash storage market, a move that could result in job cuts and a sale of its PCIe flash memory card business.

The restructuring comes in the wake of Violin Memory's lackluster IPO last September as well as the appointment earlier this month of a new CEO to replace Don Basile, who was fired in December.

Violin Memory's board has authorized a review of "strategic alternatives" for the PCIe flash memory card business as a way to better focus on "markets where Violin has proven technology leadership and significant growth opportunities," the company said in a statement.

[Related: Violin Memory Post-IPO Fall Caused By Bad Timing, Fast-Maturing Flash Storage Market: VARs]

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That review, and any follow-up action, is expected to be finished during the first quarter, Violin Memory said. "Strategic alternatives" is often a euphemism for sale of all or part of a company.

If Violin Memory does exit the PCIe business, it should have little or no impact on channel partners, said Keith Norbie, director of server, virtualization and storage for the Eastern U.S. for Technology Integration Group (TIG), a San Diego-based solution provider and Violin Memory partner.

"The way Violin goes to market is not dependent on bus technology for flash," Norbie said. "Their technology is more tied to networked flash storage in the high-end tier."

Norbie doesn't believe the market would react negatively if Violin Memory exits the PCIe flash acceleration card business.

"It's more about the actual solutions to do flash storage, not the form factor," he said. "Whether the flash is on PCIe or not is not important. We've found that regardless of where customers have implemented Violin, it's had a hyper impact on their performance."

Violin Memory currently offers three primary flash storage hardware lines, including a flash storage memory array; a memory appliance based on Violin's January, 2013 GridIron acquisition for memory-based application acceleration, tiering, migration, and data protection services; and server-based PCIe flash memory application acceleration cards.

Along with possibly exiting the PCIe flash technology business, Violin Memory said it is in the process of laying off about 100 employees, a move that will leave it with a headcount of about 380 people, down from the 483 employees it had on Oct. 31.

The workforce reduction and change in product strategy come just a few weeks after Violin Memory on February 3 said Kevin DeNuccio took over the CEO position.

Violin Memory declined to comment further on the news.