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Violin pumps up capacity for all-flash array

Todd Erickson

Violin Memory Inc. this week launched its largest capacity all-flash array and a new Symphony storage management application.

The Violin 6264 Flash Memory array scales to 64 TB -- twice as much as the vendor's

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previous highest capacity array -- in a 3U box. Violin claimed the 6264 can deliver 750,000 IOPS. The system uses 19-nanometer, multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash from Toshiba.

Narayan Venkat, Violin's vice president for product management, said the 19 nanometer geometry, consumer-grade MLC flash and the Violin Memory Operating System flash-optimized storage management system, allows the company to price the 6264 below $5 per GB.

"What we are doing today is delivering storage at the speed of memory, but at the cost of performance disk," Venkat said. "Over time, what you will see is our entire product line shifting to the latest flash technology, which is the 19 nanometer."

Violin Memory offers all-flash storage arrays with both MLC and single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash technology. The Violin 6600 series SLC flash arrays offer between 6.6 TB and 17.6 TB of raw capacity and between 450,000 and 1 million IOPS in the standard 3U form factor.

The Violin 6200 series MLC flash arrays offer between 13.2 TB and 70.3 TB of raw capacity and between 200,000 and 750,000 IOPS.

All of the Violin all-flash arrays include eight 8 Gbps Fibre Channel, eight 10 Gigabit Ethernet and four 40 Gbps QDR Infiniband network connections. All of the arrays also have system-level, hardware-based RAID data protection, two controller modules, two memory gateways, and automated failover and failback.

The Symphony storage management application incorporates all of Violin's storage management, data protection, system analytics and data reduction technologies into a Web-based application. Symphony can be used to manage any Violin array and can run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets as well as PCs. It is a separately licensed product priced by the number of arrays under management.

While Venkat said the 6264 costs less than $5 per GB, Violin did not release any more pricing details.

Violin was the flash array revenue market leader in 2012, according to research from Gartner. Violin had $72 million in revenue for 19.4% of the market, according to Gartner's figures. Major storage vendors EMC, IBM, NetApp and HDS rounded out the top five, but those vendors -- along with Hewlett-Packard and Dell -- have new all-flash options that will put pressure on Violin to maintain its lead.


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