Violin Memory Expands Solid State Storage Lineup

Violin 6000 Series flash Memory Arrays offer single-level and multi-level cell versions, redundancy, and new levels of capacity and throughput.

September 27, 2011

3 Min Read
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Violin Memory announced on Tuesday several additions to its storage array products that are intended to move the strategic deployment of solid state storage to dominance in front-line storage systems. Using the latest single-level cell (SLC) and two-bit per cell multi-level cell (MLC) technology from investor Toshiba, Violin's new products achieve a new level of capacity and throughput.

The new Violin 6000 Series flash Memory Array is a high-availability storage system that answers user concerns about a single point of failure. "Everything in this array is duplicated," said Don Basile, CEO of Violin Memory. The 6000 Series has dual controllers, power supplies, gateway ports, and even extra Violin virtual memory modules (VIMMs) that provide in-place self-healing and memory aggregation. Everything on the 6000 Series is hot swappable and protected by Violin's vRAID functionality, which stripes data across multiple VIMMs for access and reduces latency with non-blocking erases.

Unlike the existing 3000 Series, the 6000 has built-in gateways that support Fibre Channel and Ethernet connectivity without an external gateway device.

Two versions of the 6000 Series are available, one using SLC technology--the 6616--and one using MLC--the 6232. SLC is faster and more expensive. MLC is about half the cost of SLC and slower.

[ Solid state storage has a lot of benefits. Learn which form factor is best for you by reading Which Server SSD Should You Choose? ]

The SLC-based 6000 Series is a 3U appliance with a capacity of 16 TB raw and 12 TB useable. The MLC version is 32 TB raw and 22 TB useable. The ratio differences are appropriate to SLC versus MLC, since MLC has a higher wear rate than SLC. The SLC version will do one million input-output operations per second (IOPs) and 4 Gbps bandwidth. The MLC version does 500,000 IOPs and 2 Gbps bandwidth. In a single rack, the SLC version supports 1.2 PBs, 10 million IOPs and 40 Gbps. The MLC version does 2.2 PBs, five million IOPs and 20 Gbps. That is enough performance for almost any application.

The 6000 Series connectivity supports eight 4-Gbps to 8-Gbps Fibre Channel or eight 10-Gbps iSCSI connections. The protocols are managed by the vShare management software. Storage management is enhanced by the vCluster function, which allows single-pane management over multiple 6000 Series. The vRaid, vShare, and vCluster software functionality have also been extended to the 3000 Series.

Not to be left out, the 3000 Series has been enhanced with MLC to 20 TB of data per 3U shelf. The software compatibility between the 3000 and 6000 Series allows data center managers to define a solid state primary storage infrastructure, something that more and more enterprises are demanding.

Violin Memory currently has 225 employees and is expected to grow to more than 400 in early 2012. HP resells Violin's flash memory arrays. However, the company's most strategic partnership is with Toshiba, which supplies flash memory and DRAM that Violin uses. Toshiba, which runs the world's largest flash memory foundry is a major investor in Violin. In February of this year, Toshiba along with Juniper Networks led Violin's Series B funding of $35 million. In July, the company received $40 million in Series C funding, bringing its total investments to $105 million.

Deni Connor is founding analyst for Storage Strategies NOW, an industry analyst firm that focuses on storage, virtualization, and servers. James E. Bagley contributed to this story.

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