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Violin Memory grabs Fusion-io's former chief

Basile orchestrates memory appliance launch

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Dr Don Basile, the former head of Fusion-io, has been secretly working as the CEO for Violin Memory since April this year, it has emerged. Various ex-Fusion-io people have followed him there.

Both Fusion-io and Violin Memory make flash memory products for servers. The Violin 1010 Memory Appliance product is a PCIe or network-connected solid state drive (SSD) using DRAM and single level cell (SLC) flash memory that currently supports up to 4TB of flash and 250,000 I/Os per second (IOPS)in a 2U enclosure. Fusion-io provides a PCIe-connected flash-based ioDrive. It augments a hard drive storage array whereas Violin's idea is ultimately to replace the array.

Basile was the CEO and sometime chairman at Fusion-io. He was quietly ousted, or resigned, it was never made clear which, at the end of March, and replaced by David Bradford, whom he had recruited as Fusion's general counsel.

Bradford, like other senior Fusion-io staff, such as co-founder David Flynn, has Utah connections. There has been mention of tension between Silicon Valley and Utah people in Fusion, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City with a Silicon Valley sales office in Alviso.

As a startup CEO at Fusion-io, Basile oversaw the expansion of the company's workforce from 11 to more than 100 people, and raised $79.5m in financing. During his time Fusion concluded agreements with HP, IBM and Dell and acquired 300-plus enterprise customers.

It turns out that Dixon Doll Jnr, who was Fusion-io's senior VP for sales and corporate development under Basile, joined Violin Memory as its chief operating officer at the beginning of September. Fusion-io has consistently refused to answer questions about Doll's status since Bradford took over as CEO. Doll's updated LinkedIn entry reveals he left the Fusion post in February this year.

Matt Barletta, who was Fusion-io's VP for product marketing, left Fusion in March and has rejoined Basile at Violin Memory, becoming his product marketing VP. We understand that other members of Basile's team at Fusion-ion have moved to Violin.

Basile says technology developments mean that Violin's appliance will move from hundreds of thousands to millions of I/Os per second, from single terabytes to tens of terabytes of data capacity, and from single gigabytes per second to ten gigabytes per second bandwidth, when it launches next year. The technology provides sustained read/write I/O performance for both sequential and random I/O. with predictably linear scaling.

Violin says its switched memory architecture enables flash management functions to be distributed across many modules and so help boost IOPS, memory density and lower cost.

The product uses considerably less power than a hard drive array with the same IOPS rating as well. Hopefully Violin says data centres can avoid room expansion by exchanging hard drive arrays for its memory appliances and save on space, power and cooling.

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