Violin Unveils Velocity PCIe Flash Server Cards

Posted on March 04, 2013 By Pedro Hernandez

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Solid state drive (SSD) array maker Violin Memory announced an expansion of its product line into PCIe flash server cards and a tighter technology-sharing partnership with flash chip supplier Toshiba.

According to Narayan Venkat, VP of products for Violin Memory, the company is rolling out its new Velocity PCIe card portfolio in much the same way that it approached the enterprise storage market. Venkat and crew "more than dipped our toes," he said. "We jumped headlong into flash solutions for the server side."

Four products currently make up Violin's new Velocity PCIe product line, which get their data-slinging prowess from Toshiba's innovations surrounding MLC NAND flash. Hinting at a mutually beneficial relationship for both companies, Venkat reminded, "Toshiba is not just an investor but also a supplier of NAND flash for us."

Capacities range from 1.37TB to 11TB. They deliver 120,000 IOPS on the 1.37TB model and up to 540,000 IOPS in the 11TB version. Prices range from $3 per GB to $6 per GB, which should go a long way in mainstreaming flash storage solutions, according to Violin Memory CEO Don Basile.

"Our new focus on PCIe cards will allow both companies to drive radical new economics that lead to the mass adoption of memory-based architectures. NAND memory is now a requirement at every level from the smart connected device to the core of the cloud and the enterprise data center," stated Basile.

The new hardware is part of Violin’s strategy of pushing high performance flash storage technology beyond arrays. PCIe cards are currently the order of the day, but Violin is busily laying the groundwork for and end-to-end flash solutions slate.

In January, Violin acquired GridIron, maker of the TurboCharger line of application acceleration appliances. TurboCharger boosts performance between SANs and application servers by employing flash memory, DRAM and specialized software.

Violin's Velocity PCIe cards also represent a deepening of ties between Toshiba and the enterprise flash storage provider. The companies have entered into an IP-sharing agreement that builds on their established partnership.

For Toshiba, the alliance enables the consumer electronics giant to leverage Violin's advancements in flash storage. Toshiba is "licensing our technology and taking it to market," informed Venkat.

Violin, on the other hand, gets first dibs on Toshiba's newest tech. "We get preferential access to NAND flash at economic savings," said Venkat, adding that those savings wind up getting "trickled down to customers."

It's an arrangement that bodes well for Toshiba's flash storage ambitions, said VP of Storage Products, Hiroyuki Sato.

"The PCIe card market is important to Toshiba’s customers. Expanding our strategic relationship with Violin Memory will allow us to bring the valuable Violin enterprise IP to a broad range of industry leading solutions in our future product offerings," boasted Sato in a company statement.

Violin Memory Velocity PCIe server flash cards are available now.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.


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