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The 4 terabyte Violin

Flash memory appliance speeds past RamSan 500

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Violin Memory's 1010 memory appliance is at last available with flash memory instead of DRAM. Positioned as a networked tier zero storage resource, it is said to be faster than solid state drives tucked in storage array drive shelves.

The 1010 DRAM-based memory appliance was launched in August 2007. At that time the flash version was promised for early 2008. The appliance can have up to 500GB of DRAM in its 2U chassis, supports three million IOPS (Input/Output operations Per Second) and has a 3 microsecond latency.

Violin Memory's 1010 memory appliance

The flash version has an eight times larger capacity of 4TB, starting at 320GB and consists single level cell (SLC) NAND flash. Its latency is around 23 times slower at 70 microseconds. It supports more than 100,000 sustained random write IOPS and 200,000 read IOPS (4K blocks) and can do so for ten years. According to Violin, users would need 500 15,000 rpm Fibre Channel drives to deliver this level of performance.

Violin says the RAID memory scheme for the 1010 does not rely on read-modify-write operations.

Fibre Channel, Ethernet and PCIe connectivity are present, a network head being needed though for Fibre Channel and Ethernet. The main Linux releases, Open Solaris and Windows (32-bit and 64-bit) operating systems are supported. Violin says it costs less than $50/GB suggesting that a fully-configured TB flash 1010 would be $200,000.

<pTexas Memory System's RamSan 500, a rival product. also a flash-based networked solid state drive, can have 2TB of SLC flash, 64GB of DRAM cache, and costs, wait for it, $200,000. Strange, that. It offers 100,000 random read IOPS and 25,000 random write IOPS, and latency of 200 microseconds with a cache miss or 15 microseconds with a cache hit.

Compared to that it looks like Violin plays a better flash sonata. ®

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