Don Basile, one of the founders of Fusion-io, who helped start the company with 11 people and grow it to its current 300 customers and partnership agreements with IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard in less than a year, was introduced Sept. 15 as the new CEO of Violin Memory — even though he’s been with the company since April.
Violin Memory makes the Violin 1010 Memory Appliance, a terabyte-capable memory device that attaches to a server to boost performance of large data-set applications. It uses the industry’s highest-available capacity and performance DRAM (dynamic RAM) and NAND flash drives in a common platform. The Violin 1010 can be configured with up to 504GB of DRAM or 4TB of flash in a 2U (3.5-inch) chassis.
Fusion-io’s frontline product, the ioDrive, is the first direct-attached, solid-state server storage array to use PCIe (PCI Express) connectivity. The ioDrive is small–barely larger than a typical handheld device–and uses advanced NAND flash clustering to perform the same functions as a spinning desk storage array, only with faster read/write performance and with much less power draw.
Fusion-io, now led by CEO David Bradford, made news in February 2008 when Basile and Bradford helped recruit Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak to serve as its chief scientist.
So why did Basile decide to leave Wozniak, Bradford and his baby, Fusion-io, which has such a promising future?
“We had a little disagreement about how to take the company to the next level,” Basile told The Station, without being specific about with whom he disagreed. “A big change is going to come in the data center in terms of a network-attached memory tier, which will dovetail into this unified computing environment which you’ve written about, around virtualization.”
Basile was talking specifically about Cisco Systems’, Hewlett-Packard’s and VMware’s entries into the unified and cloud computing sectors during the past year as being key indicators of the importance of this burgeoning market.
“You need a certain class of aggregation technology to be able to go through that. I was very pleased to find that in Violin,” Basile said. “That’s what really excited me. Over the past seven months, this market has started to explode.”