Violin Memory Brings Enterprise Data Services To Concerto 7000

Violin Memory became the latest developer of all-flash storage arrays to give its solutions a boost into the enterprise with the introduction of key software features expected of enterprise-class arrays.

Violin Memory's new Concerto 7000 all-flash array is the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's first flash storage solution to include a software stack with such data services as synchronous and asynchronous replication, stretch metro clustering, snapshots, thin provisioning, data protection and storage scaling, said Eric Herzog, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of business development.

"Flash storage is transforming the data center," Herzog told CRN. "But for it to take hold, customers need data center services. So we're introducing business continuity, data protection, scaling and data efficiency."

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

Sponsored post

Violin Memory has done a good job of building a solid software stack even though it is not quite complete, the company's channel partners said. The main missing piece is deduplication, although the software stack does include compression.

One partner, who asked to remain anonymous because of other vendor relationships, told CRN that Violin Memory still needs to add OpenStack, VMware vSphere, Red Hat and programmatic APIs to bring its software stack up to par.

"At this point, adding snapshots and replication is great," the solution provider said. "Now you're in the 'Jacks-or-better club.' But I'm not sure we should be slapping anyone's back yet. Violin has an impressive hardware footprint in terms of pure horsepower capabilities."

Another Violin Memory solution provider, who also requested anonymity because of partnerships with other vendors, told CRN the company is on a solid path in both hardware and software thanks to a good leadership team.

Storage efficiencies are a basic requirement, regardless of whether it is done via deduplication or compression or both, but compression is the more important of the two, the solution provider said. "Customers like both," the solution provider said. "But as long as Violin is doing compression, they're hitting the main requirement."

The solution provider especially likes Violin Memory's continuous data protection approach, which replicates data changes not only at the block level, but also at the bit level within the blocks to ensure high-speed WAN replication.

"It's a comprehensive platform," the solution provider said. "It's awesome."

NEXT: Bringing Enterprise-Class Software To All-Flash Storage

Solution providers get complete control of the new software features, Herzog said. "They can set the features at default, or can take advantage of granular control for things like when and how to replicate data, whether to do local or distance replication, and where to do continuous data protection," he said.

The software stack comes from source code Violin Memory purchased from a third-party developer that has since been further developed by Violin Memory's own team of 40 engineers, Herzog said.

Having that software capability in-house was the right move for Violin Memory, the second solution provider said.

"Violin could get an OEM agreement with a company like Symantec, but they would always have to deal with licensing costs," the solution provider said. "Or they could take a short-term hit and invest in the software for lower costs and better margins in the long-term. And they get intellectual property that makes them more valuable to customers because they are in control of their own strategy."

2014 has seen several all-flash storage array vendors add enterprise-class data services capabilities to their software as part of a move to make their solutions more enterprise-friendly.

Enterprise all-flash storage array vendor Pure Storage, of Mountain View, Calif., in mid-May released a new version of its Purity software that made the company one of the first to bring enterprise-level replication to flash storage solutions.

It was followed about a week later by Newton, Mass.-based Kaminario's introduction of a new suite of software that brings such capabilities as snapshot-based replication, flexible deduplication and both scale-up and scale-out architectures.

On the hardware side, Violin Memory's new Concerto 7000 features nodes configured with 70 TB of raw flash storage capacity, Herzog said.

Up to four nodes fit into an 18U rack enclosure for a total raw capacity of up to 280 TB, Herzog said. The company also introduced a kit that can be used to upgrade Violin Memory's 6000 all-flash array to the Concerto 7000, he said.