Toshiba and others invest $20m in Violin Memory

 

This post discusses recent announcements from Violin Memory and Toshiba and how they relate and compare NAND flash-based solutions to Xiotech’s ISE. 

You can read the press release here:

http://www.violin-memory.com/news/press-releases/violin-memory-enters-into-a-strategic-relationship-with-toshiba/

and the press analysis is here:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/01/toshiba-violin/

http://www.storagenewsletter.com/news/business/violin-memory-20-million-of-funding

http://www.businessweek.com/idg/2010-04-01/toshiba-invests-in-enterprise-flash-memory-company.html

What This Means

Coupled with Toshiba’s previously announced 25nm flash, this pulls the Violin 1010 appliance even and perhaps beyond some of the other appliances we are seeing (Schooner comes to mind).  In case you missed it, here is the Toshiba announcement:   http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSSGE6300HS20100402

Today there are three different approaches to adding Tier Zero flash to your enterprise-class data center environment:  purpose-built racked appliance, SATA plug&play drives, PCIe cards.  Yes there are others but these are the devices and systems targeted to enterprise-class users as high performance Tier Zero storage or cache.

Many of my clients are evaluating how NAND flash can be integrated into their environments to improve database performance, oltp and transaction servers, etc.  It’s a crowded field and evaluating the various technologies is a multi-dimensional challenge.  Some of the analytics revolve around acquisition cost, cost per usable terabyte, proposed energy savings, ease of integration, and so on.

My point is that every situation is different — for example, you may have a need for speed notwithstanding cost.  Alternatively, cost may be high on your list of evaluation criteria.   Certainly TCO and ROI need to be factored, understood, and integrated into your evaluation.

Different isn’t better; different is different

Xiotech’s Integrated Storage Element (ISE) is a complete bottom-up redesign of spinning media and is designed to be data-center compatible with virtualization, web 2.0, and scale-out environments.  Many clients are choosing ISE as a complement to or instead of NAND flash-based options.  Here’s why:

ISE incorporates innovative and disruptive thinking around the foundation of storage—the disk drive and its enclosure. With its game-changing design, ISE delivers reliability, performance, and scalability that no other storage system today can match. ISE is an integrated environment of:

  • Single or dual sealed DataPacs, each with up to 8 terabytes of capacity—up to 16 terabytes in just 3U of rack space
  • Dual Managed Reliability Controllers, which locally manage cache, data recording processes, Dual power and cooling units
  • Dual battery modules.

 

Summary

Companies evaluating Tier Zero and Tier 1 storage solutions should be mindful of multi-variable challenges integrating NAND-flash-based solutions in their enterprises.  Xiotech’s ISE offers many of the benefits of high-performance storage coupled with compelling ROI/TCO attributes based on acquisition cost, usable space, and a 5-year warranty which speaks volumes about reliability for continously available environments.

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