The company's new arrays, built for "big data-type" workloads, bring new levels of performance to the table with full enterprise reliability in a 3U SAN-attached platform.
Solid-state storage provider
on Sept. 27 introduced
a new series of NAND flash arrays, describing them as the industry's first
all-silicon storage systems.
Violin's 6000 Series flash
memory arrays are intended to push solid-state storage from spot deployments,
where it is used most frequently, into the front tier of storage systems.
Violin uses the newest single-level cell (SLC) and two-bit per cell multi-level
cell (MLC) NAND flash from its chief investor Toshiba.
The new arrays are built for
"big data-type" workloads, CEO Don Basile told eWEEK.
The 6000 product line brings new levels of performance to
the table with full enterprise reliability in a 3U SAN-attached platform, he
Violin's design features a
hot-swappable platform that provides sustained performance to accelerate all
applications, which enables them to be virtualized and deployed in private
Compared with the company's
current 3000 Series, the 6000s have built-in gateways that support Fibre
Channel and Ethernet connectivity without needing an external gateway, Basile
said. Two versions of the 6000 Series are available; the 6616 uses SLC, and the
6232 uses MLC. SLC is faster but more expensive, and MLC is half the cost of
SLC but is slower.
Fulfilling Promise to Replace Disks
"We're fulfilling our
promise to replace enterprise disks with memory-based solutions," Basile
said. "We're focused on Tier 1 (storage). To be Tier 1, not only do
you need performance, but you need very high availability/reliability
"You can get way more
power and storage capacity in one of our racks [10 boxes] than in a bunch of
standard disk-based racks. In fact, we took the most recent EMC Symmetrix Tier
1 disk array solution, announced at VMworld, and in the same use case, compared
our 6000 series against it. To do the same amount (of workload) as one rack of
our 6000 series, you need 40 racks of Symmetrix [machines]-9,600 disks, based
on our own benchmark."
So, Basile contends:
"Performance-wise, space, power, density and cost, Violin can save all
those things for you in a very big way."
Violin's Tier 1 memory
arrays can house more than 160TB in a single rack and provide a whopping 10
million IOPS and 40GB per second performance, Basile said.
"We built the 6000 from
the ground up, using our own software and hardware intellectual property, to
give CIOs the highest reliability, performance, serviceability, space and power
compression, and cost savings demanded in enterprise environments," Basile
NAND flash-based arrays
naturally are more expensive item-for-item than disk-based systems, but over
time, the ROI is much quicker, Basile said.
"Typically, we see
2X-3X lower CAPEX [capital expenditure] and 2X-3X lower OPEX [operational
expense] overall," Basile said. "When you're dealing with the biggest
5,000 companies, as we are, they have sophisticated IT organizations, they
can do the comparisons. When you get below that level, they don't really have
sophisticated IT folks who are willing to do the POCs [proofs of concept] and
Bad Rap on Pricing
The solid-state memory
storage sector often gets a bad rap on pricing, Basile said.
"The mid-tier and below
market is quite confused right now [about whether to move to pure SSD storage],"
he said. "We're finding a bifurcation in the market. We're able to deal
with large banks, Internet properties and government buyers very easily.
They're the ones who've helped shape our product line over the last two-plus
years. That's why we're seeing traction with their platforms, and why we grew
to $100 million four years faster than 3PAR, five years faster than Isilon, and
two years faster than Data Domain."
Violin has gained a lot of
fans in the last couple of years as its customer base grows. The Mountain View,
Calif.-based company added a whopping $100 million in equity financing the last
year, led by Toshiba, Juniper Networks and other sources.
"We've got about a
third of a billion dollars in equity behind the company as we push into the
marketplace," Basile said.
The company now has 220
employees and is looking to expand its workforce to 400 to 500 by January 2012,
Basile said. "We're in our hyper-growth phase now, in order to scale out
and meet the needs of our customers and partners," Basile said.
Tony Perkins' AlwaysOn Networks
, which works closely
with the venture capital community to examine IT startup companies, selected
Violin Memory as its company of the year in 2011. It's in some very good
company, no pun intended; previous winners include Google, Salesforce.com,
Twitter, YouTube, and MySQL.