By Dave Simpson
November 16, 2010 – The seeds of Violin Memory’s acquisition of Gear6 earlier this year came to fruition today with Violin’s introduction of its vCACHE appliance, which combines the company’s flash- and DRAM-based memory arrays with Gear6’s NFS caching software.
vCACHE is positioned to a degree against NetApp’s Flash Cache modules, but vCACHE appliances can be used with any NFS-based NAS filer, as well as clusters of heterogenous NAS systems. (In the recent refresh of its FAS family, NetApp introduced support for solid-state disk, or SSD, drives. See “NetApp overhauls product line, from arrays to OS.”)
In addition to the Gear6 caching software, Violin Memory’s vCACHE includes the company’s Flash Memory Arrays, which are based on flash SSDs. vCACHE appliances can be configured with up to 15TB of capacity and eight 10GbE ports. The company claims performance of up more than 300,000 NFS operations per second.
“Embedded caches are susceptible to cache thrashing due to their limited capacity, and they’re very expensive,” says Don Basile, Violin Memory’s CEO. “In contrast, you can put as many filers as you want behind a vCACHE and scale up to 15TB of SLC [single-level cell] flash to put the entire active data set in cache.”
Pricing for Violin’s vCACHE starts at less than $40,000, or under $1 per NFS operation per second.
Violin’s memory arrays deliver 300,000 IOPS and consume 200 watts per TB, according to Basile.
Violin also introduced vCLUSTER software, which is based on Gear6 technology. vCLUSTER provides high availability and an an integrated view of up to 32 clustered nodes.