Jim Handy, an analyst with Objective Analysis, cautions that there is a lot that is still unknown about adding SSDs to systems. Storage cache management software is still in its infancy but Violin believes that many data center managers will be unwilling to put up with erratic access times that result when an SSD cache is put in front of an HDD. "If the data's in the SSD, the access will be lightning fast, but if it's not there the system slows to the speed of the HDDs, which might be two orders of magnitude slower."
Violin is betting that many users need for all of their accesses to be consistently fast, so they provide large memory appliances, says Handy. "In the case that these are too large to be consistently useful in an application, the new vCache software allows different parts of this resource to be allotted to different tasks. It's a very high end solution. A lot more cheap SSDs will sell than expensive Violin devices, but the high price on these will quite likely cause Violin's revenues to reach impressive levels. Even though these devices are expensive, they end up selling because they provide a more economical solution for their customers' needs than do scale-out solutions."