The future of flash is guaranteed

When do we stop using the term "flash storage"? When does it become just "storage"? And when do we as an industry shift the qualifier to "mechanical spinning disk media"? That future may be a lot sooner than you might think. The industry perception of flash storage is transforming from why to why not as I write. At some of the more recent storage industry events I have attended, when a question is asked about the potential of flash storage, the storage administrators in the audience are just as likely as the presenter to speak up and sing the praises of all-flash storage.

Topics: Storage Netapp EMC flash Nimble Violin Memory Kaminario HPE All flash pure storage All-Flash Array

Violin Refines its Pitch to "Software Major" (includes video)

While it's always tempting to use some musical reference when talking about Violin (and I make no apologies for doing so in my blog title or the video blog below) I was struck by a different metaphor when speaking with CEO Kevin Denuccio recently. His office looks straight at the new home of the 49ers, Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. Imagine a football team that only played either offense or defense?! That was almost the Violin story early on - it was a perfomance value proposition and not a lot else. But winning requires playing both sides of the ball....and now Violin has rounded out and extended its software data services offerings so as to field a balanced team. Take a look at this video blog to get a quick idea of what's changed:

Topics: solid state storage Violin Memory

Violin Adds A New String To Its Bow

I couldn’t resist the pun in the title – it was either this one or "Violin orchestrates its next step!"

Anyhow, Violin just made two separate – albeit closely linked – announcements. I don’t usually comment too much on individual products but what’s happened is significant for the market as well as Violin so I figured a few lines are worthwhile. So, the news (in case you missed it) is this: first, Violin has extended its involvement with Toshiba into a formal IP-sharing partnership alliance; second, the first offspring of this new relationship is a series of server-based PCIe flash cards that Violin calls ‘Velocity’ and refers to (this is perhaps a semantic and philosophical discussion for another day…) as memory. So far, so good. What’s the significance?

  • For Violin – this is a move away from where it started (and, let’s be clear, will still play) which was in flash arrays/appliances attached to servers, whereas this is flash storage in servers. This is both an offensive and a defensive play as there is increasing competition from a wide variety of both large and small vendors in the flash space, and Violin wants to address/drive as large a percentage of this nascent and dynamic market as possible…partly because it makes prima facia business sense and partly because it has a great deal of money invested (over $230M since 2009). These new Velocity cards range in list price from $3/GB to $6/GB which is certainly going to garner some [positive] attention, as it clearly highlights that flash is becoming more affordable, and more 'normal.'
  • For the market – Violin’s move suggests that a range of solid-state types and implementations has value to users and is likely to become the norm. The clear and early leader for server-based flash, FusionIO, has itself made significant strides of late to offer different flash deployment styles and packaging. Violin’s price model also shows that ‘price matters’ – while that may seem like something of a "no shit, Sherlock" type of comment, it is actually evidence of something else - the move of flash away from just price-[mainly]-insensitive performance-centric applications, and to more price-sensitive ‘regular’ workloads.
Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure flash storage Violin Memory