FIO Financial Roadshows Update: Four Major Conferences in San Francisco

February 1, 2012

Credit Suisse Solid State Storage Conference
San Francisco, California
Wednesday, February 8, 2012, 2:15 p.m. (PT)
David A. Flynn, CEO, and Dennis P. Wolf, CFO

Barclays Big Data Conference
San Francisco, California
Monday, February 13, 2012, 4:30 p.m. (PT)
David A. Flynn, CEO, and Dennis P. Wolf, CFO

Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet 2012 Conference
San Francisco, California
Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 10:20 a.m. (PT)
David A. Flynn, CEO, and Dennis P. Wolf, CFO

Morgan Stanley 2012 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference
San Francisco, California
Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 4:05 p.m. (PT)
David A. Flynn, CEO, and Dennis P. Wolf, CFO

When Violin-Memory’s CEO Don Basile Speaks Out, People Listen…

January 31, 2012

The solid-state memory storage sector often gets a bad rap on pricing, Basile said.

“The mid-tier and below market is quite confused right now [about whether to move to pure SSD storage],” he said. “We’re finding a bifurcation in the market. We’re able to deal with large banks, Internet properties and government buyers very easily. They’re the ones who’ve helped shape our product line over the last two-plus years. That’s why we’re seeing traction with their platforms, and why we grew to $100 million four years faster than 3PAR, five years faster than Isilon, and two years faster than Data Domain.”


Violin-Memory Ready to IPO

January 29, 2012

Over the weekend, Violin-Memory posted a job on LinkedIn for an SEC Compliance Manager:

Not to mention a ton of new job openings here and in Europe:


  • Linux Systems Administrator

    Tagged as: Engineering Services

    Violin Memory Engineering Systems team member required to participate in providing the engineering and support resources needed to drive an evolving, fast-paced engineering team in a startup environment.

  • SEC and Compliance Manager

    Tagged as: Finance

    This position will be responsible for managing all SEC reporting and managing the Company’s SOX compliance program.

  • ASIC Design Engineer

    Tagged as: Hardware

    Develop microarchitecture and RTL for high performance PCIe based RAID controller and flash controller. Drive synthesis, formal verification and timing closure (STA) of Storage controller ASIC. Candidate must be highly motivated, and well organized.

  • Verification Engineer

    Tagged as: Hardware

    Looking for a talented, motivated technical leader for Design Verification to design a verification environment for a set of storage devices, and have a big outcome on the acceptance of flash memory in large enterprises.

  • Release & Change Management Engineer

    Tagged as: Platform Engineering

    Administers and develops the source code control system for all mainframe and open server environments. Creates, tests and implements automated software code build and deployment scripts for mainframe and open server applications.

  • Product Marketing Manager

    Tagged as: Product Marketing

    The candidate will lead development of world class marketing materials that drive and support Violin’s leadership of the Flash Memory Array field in the marketplace. The candidate will develop/create a range of marketing materials and initiatives.

  • Channel Managers (Europe)

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    Proven record of building an international channels team in a high growth competitive environment.

  • Sales Engineers

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    The primary technical resource for the AM for both pre and post sales activities. SE’s will actively drive and managing the tech evaluation stage of the sales process via PoC

  • Sales Executives

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    Proven track record of selling and partnering in the data center environment required.

  • Sales Executives – UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    Proven track record of selling and partnering in the data center environment required. Country, region and language experience required.

  • Solutions Architect

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    A Solution Architect is a strong technical voice focused on key partner and customer relationships. A Solution Architect will work with customers and partners to design solutions that will create customer success.

  • System Engineers – UK, France, Germany & Scandinavia

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    Experience in both pre and post sales of enterprise Storage & Computing solutions. High speed networking knowledge required – FC & 10Gb technologies. Hands on POC support skills a must. Country, region and language experience required.

  • Data Management Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced software developers to lead development of data mobility (Replication, Snapshots etc.) and reduction (Compression, De-dupe etc.) software features for a high performance storage array.

  • Device Driver Software Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced high performance storage driver developer for existing drivers, adding/extending features and supporting new hardware. Candidate will work with OEM partners in porting drivers to custom environments.

  • Infiniband Device Driver Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced Infiniband driver developer to lead development of an innovative high performance storage product. Requires proven experience with the IB protocol stack from RDMA and the verbs layer upward, including iSER and SRP.

  • Platform Integration Software Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Experienced software developer(s) to join Platform Integration Team. The engineer should have 5+ years experience software development, preferably in one or more of the following areas: embedded OS, networked storage or high availability systems.

  • Senior Web Interface Engineer (Front End Development)

    Tagged as: Software

    You will be responsible building the web-based front end interface for a new class of flash-based infrastructure product at Violin Memory

  • Storage Appliance Software Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking embedded software developers with experience implementing features for storage appliances.

  • Systems Management Software Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced systems management developer with experience in appliance or embedded products.

  • Windows Storage Device Driver Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced Windows storage driver developer for existing drivers and new driver development, adding/extending features and supporting new hardware.

  • Technical Support Engineers

    Tagged as: Support

    The Technical Support Engineer provides phone, email and remote technical support and is responsible for assisting customers and field personnel with installation, configuration and troubleshooting our direct and SAN attached FLASH storage products.

Can Fusion-IO Outrun The Tiger? (repost)

January 18, 2012

There is a saying that goes, “you don’t have to be faster than the tiger, you just have to be faster than your slowest friend.” That may be a constructive way of thinking about Fusion-IO (NYSE:FIO) today. There’s no question that this is a high-growth tech stock with a huge multiple and huge expectations, but that has never stopped those tech stocks that can deliver the goods. (For more, seeEarning Forecasts: A Primer.)

Big Data 2.0
In some respects, what Fusion-IO seeks to do is relatively simple. In the same way that solid-state drives (SSD) have offered consumers considerably better performance than hard disk drives, Fusion-IO is trying to bring the advantages of flash/SSD memory to the enterprise data market.

Fusion-IO sells a two-part solution. The hardware consists of products like to ioDrive, a collection of flash cards (ioMemory) containing an array of NAND flash chips and an FPGA. These attach literally to the process server (through PCI Express) and can dramatically increase the throughput rates as a result.

There is also a software component, with the Virtual Storage Layer (VSL) software arguably the most important part. This is host driver software that manages the interface between the ioDrive and the operating system. Fusion-IO also has the directCache product that allows Fusion-IO’s products to work in virtualized systems like those created byVMware (NYSE:VMW).

Why Bother?
So why is Fusion-IO doing this? Don’t EMC (NYSE:EMC), NetAppliance (Nasdaq:NTAP) and International Business Machine (NYSE:IBM) already handle the storage needs for Big Data? Yes and no. There are certainly ample virtues to the approach used by EMC (and the others), particularly when it concerns large amounts of data.

The problem, though, is that these aren’t always especially fast systems – there’s something of a “request and go fetch” aspect to it. What Fusion-IO offers is a solution that is much faster (and ultimately cheaper) when speed is of the essence. It’s not yet economical to create an entirely flash-based storage network, but it can make sense for smaller pieces of time-sensitive data.

Early Days
It’s not fair to say that Fusion-IO is a solution in search of a market, but it is fair to say that this is a small early-stage opportunity. Some analysts believe that this will be a $5 billion addressable market in 2015 – by way of comparison, EMC has logged over $19 billion in revenue in its past twelve months. That said, don’t confuse “small today” with “small forever.” Just as hard drives replaced tape-based drives years ago, SSD is going to continue to grow as the costs come down.

Competitors and Buyers
Fusion-IO has a head-start on the competition, but that won’t last very long. First, there is a risk that the VSL software becomes a commoditized product over the next couple of years. More to the point, companies like EMC, NetApp, STEC (Nasdaq:STEC) and LSI (NYSE:LSI) have this market opportunity in their sights. EMC’s Project Lightning should ship in 2012 and while not so much is known about the hardware component, EMC does already have very good storage management software.

Looking more broadly, a host of other companies could potentially get into this market. Chip companies like Marvel Technology (Nasdaq:MRVL), SanDisk (Nasdaq:SNDK), Intel (Nasdaq:INTC) and Samsung arguably have the hardware wherewithal, but need to find a way to implement the software side – something that could get easier if VSL does become a commodity.

There’s also a good chance that Fusion-IO goes into the buyout rumor mill. OEM partners IBM and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) could certainly use this company to enliven the growth prospects of their storage businesses, while EMC has never been shy about pulling out its wallet to cover gaps in its own technology.

The Bottom Line
There’s no point in talking about valuation on a stock like Fusion-IO; sell side analysts will assign grotesque multiples to sales or earnings three years hence, but the reality is that it’s nearly impossible to model growth stories like this correctly. Trading at about nine times trailing sales, Fusion-IO is already in the neighborhood of pure software plays like VMware and ahead of other growth hardware names like F5 Network (Nasdaq:FFIV) or Mellanox (Nasdaq:MLNX).

None of this means that the stock can’t work – the reality of growth tech investing is that multiples seldom stand in the way of further appreciation if the growth is there. It’s a consummate case of “buy high and hope to sell higher.” So long as investors understand the risks that go with that sort of investing, and the inevitability of some “hiccups” along the way that lead to occasional sharppullbacks, it isn’t such a bad aggressive play. (For additional reading, check out 5 Must-Have Metrics For Value Investors.)

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

At the time of writing, Stephen D. Simpson did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.


Read more:

The New TMS Ramsan 720: Next Move in the Flash Appliance Wars

December 9, 2011

You can read about this at THEREGISTER and STORAGESEARCH or go straight to the datasheet HERE.

“Virident is doing better job on the stability and performance”

December 1, 2011

How does the new Virident FlashMAX compare to the Fusion-io ioDrive?

Many of my colleagues are asking about Virident’s new FlashMAX MLC PCIe memory solution.  Recently, Percona ran some benchmarks against a FlashMAX-enabled server.  You can read about this on their site here:   Percona MySQL Performance Blog

At some point we need to get around to looking at OCZ, as well.

FIO Analytics for Monday November 21st

November 21, 2011

This chart is brought to you by:  The Blue Collar Investor:

Note:    Near-term downside target is $32 – $33.