Virident today unveiled new software called FlashMAX Connect that imbues the firm’s server flash storage solutions with storage area networking (SAN) capabilities.

“Today, most of the server-side use cases,” explains Shridar Subramanian, Virident’s vice president of Product Marketing and Management, boils down to “being used as DAS or as a cache.” Virident envisioned that flash-based caching and application acceleration solutions could play a larger, more integral role in IT environment. The result is the company’s new FlashMAX Connect offering.

In a statement, Virident explained, “FlashMAX Connect suite offers the best of both worlds: the extreme low latency and unconditional performance of FlashMAX II combined with the manageability, shareability and high availability of a traditional SAN architecture.”

Subramanian says that for Virident, it was a natural extension of the company’s PCIe add-on card business. The company produces low-profile PCIe SSDs aimed at virtualized environments, including VMware ESXi, and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) setups. In September, the Milpitas, Calif.-based company raised $26 million in funding.

Now, the company is delivering on the software side of its vision, indicated Subramanian. It’s a milestone that wouldn’t be possible if the company hadn’t first cut its teeth on PCIe SSDs.

Subramanian admitted that it is “actually easy to layer software on hardware and deliver these capabilities.” Trouble arises when flash chips don’t cooperate. “If you were to layer just any third party software on a flash device, you can undermine its performance,” he said.

The trick to coaxing server-side flash out of its comfort zone lies in being “careful how you manage the flash layer.” Virident applied its experience of working with the underlying flash chips and architectures of SSD, which included building its own controllers, to FlashMAX Connect, enabling shared storage, high availability capabilities and SAN-like data management without taxing the flash hardware.

FlashMAX Connect builds on that legacy, said Virident CEO Mike Gustafson, “As the first PCIe-based flash storage company to deliver high availability through vHA and storage management through vShare and vCache on the server, the FlashMAX Connect suite is a significant initial step in actualizing the Virident vision – to enable pervasive flash and performance storage on the server side, ” he said in a statement.

Virident’s software helps shoulder some of the data movement and management burdens from SANs. It’s an approach that can help redefine the concept of storage administration, according to Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Mark Peters.

“With its latest introduction, Virident is providing light at the end of the tunnel, where the tunnel is that most storage intelligence is still resident in storage systems. Instead, FlashMAX Connect provides the sort of shareable, server-based storage intelligence that makes excellent sense in dynamic, contemporary IT environments,” said Peters in prepared remarks.

FlashMAX Connect is currently in beta today. The company is planning for an official rollout early next quarter.

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

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