Feeds

Violin tunes SSD memory appliance

Ready to string up Flash job

The essential guide to IT transformation

Violin Memory sells a solid state disk (SSD) appliance, using DRAM and not flash memory, and FalconStor is supporting this to make its latest software perform very much faster. Blocks and Files was able to talk with Morgan Littlewood, VP of Marketing at Violin Memory, and ask him some questions about solid state disks.

B&F: How would Violin compare and contrast its Memory appliance to TMS's RamSan products, both the DRAM and DRAM-cached flash memory products?

Morgan Littlewood: The TMS Ramsan 400 provides 128GB of DRAM in 3U. Violin 1010 provides 504GB in 2U... it’s about 6X the density in a rack and 80 percent less power per GB. These benefits translate into a 50 percent lower total cost of ownership.

DRAM cached Flash in the RAMSAN 500 behaves like Flash for random reads. There is a 200 microsecond access time. The Violin 1010 with DRAM has a 3 microsecond access time…it's 65 times faster.

The Violin 1010 with Flash is not yet available, but will be significantly denser and more power-efficient again. We'll say more later this year.

B&F: I'd like to understand Violin's view of the EMC Symmetrix arrays with a tier 0 of STEC flash memory SSD drives.

Morgan Littlewood: Today's storage systems are designed and optimized for rotating disks. The total system is very large, expensive and slow when compared with a memory appliance.

The Violin 1010 memory appliance is designed from the ground-up for just memory. The Violin 1010 with DRAM is similar in price to the high performance disk storage system with Flash and is 65 times faster. The Violin 1010 with Flash will have a much better price/performance characteristic and consume much less space and power.

B&F: What is Violin's view of how the SSD market and products are going to develop. How will the cost per SSD GB progress over the next few years.

Morgan Littlewood: We expect Flash prices to continue to drop with Moore's law and multilevel cell technology.

B&F: How will write cycle endurance progress? What will happen with regard to single layer cells and multi layer cells.

Morgan Littlewood: For Flash chips the endurance cycle gets worse with multilevel cell technology. It is the systems that have to solve the problem for the users. In the end there will be many classes of Flash storage, just like there are many classes of disk drives.

DRAM should be used for high frequency write applications, like caching, high performance databases and metadata. A mix of the two technologies is likely to be the best solution for many applications.

B&F: Does Violin see any significant technology improvements to flash SSDs coming along? Intel's Numonyx JV with Micron has talked of Phase Change Memory. Does Violin think this has credibility?

Morgan Littlewood: It’s difficult for systems builders to use a technology which is not sampling and for which there is no pricing. Short term it’s unlikely to have an impact, but longer term it could be interesting given its technical attributes of low read and write latency.

The Violin 1010 is unique in that it can support any memory technology. If Phase Change RAM is made available and cost competitive, we would build a new VIMM (Violin Memory Appliance) to support it.

B&F: Does Violin see itself being impacted by a patent infringement-chasing Seagate (re its suit against STEC)? What does it think of Seagate's legal attack?

Morgan Littlewood: We are interested spectators cheering on STEC.

Copyright © 2008, Blocks & Files.com

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Pay to play: The hidden cost of software defined everything
Enter credit card details if you want that system you bought to actually be useful
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
HP busts out new ProLiant Gen9 servers
Think those are cool? Wait till you get a load of our racks
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
VMware's high-wire balancing act: EVO might drag us ALL down
Get it right, EMC, or there'll be STORAGE CIVIL WAR. Mark my words
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.