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    Violin Memory wants to Replace your Storage Array

    Violin Memory introduced their 3000 series memory appliance in mid-May.  This million-plus-IOPS device piles 10-20 terabytes of NAND flash storage into a single 3U cabinet at a price that Violin’s management claims is equivalent to that of high-end storage arrays.

    The system, introduced at $20/GB, or $200,000, is intended to provide enough storage at a low enough price to eliminate any need to manage hot data into and out of a limited number of small solid state drives.  Instead, Violin argues, the appliance’s capacity is big enough and cheap enough that an entire database can be economically stored within it, giving lightning-fast access to the entire database at once.

    Note that Violin acquired Gear6 a month later, in mid-June.  This seems to reveal that the company is hedging its bets, taking advantage of a distressed caching company’s expertise to assure a strong position in architectures based upon a smaller memory appliance managed by caching software.

    There is a good bit of detail about how and why both of these approaches make sense in Objective Analysis’ newest Enterprise SSD report.  See the Objective Analysis Reports page for more information.

    But in regard to the Series 3000, CIOs whose databases are even larger than 10TB will be comforted to hear that Violin will be introducing appliances with as much as 60TB of storage by year-end.

    Violin’s 3000 series can be configured through a communications module to support nearly any interface: Fibre Channel, 10Gb Ethernet, FCOE, PCIe, with Violin offering to support “Even InfiniBand, if asked.”  Inside are 84 modules, each built of a combination of DRAM and both SLC and MLC NAND flash, configured to assure data and pathway redundancy.

    This high level of redundancy and fault management is one of Violin’s hallmarks.

    Violin’s website is Violin-Memory.com

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