Violin Memory to Ease Flash Storage Migration with Maestro


Amid the buzz generated by the company's impending IPO, Violin Memory is working to help data centers hasten the transition from disk-based storage to flash.

Violin, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based maker of enterprise flash storage systems, today took the wraps off Maestro, a software-driven platform that enables organizations to non-disruptively slot solid-state drive (SSD) arrays into their existing storage area networks (SANs).

The aim, Violin's vice president of Products, Narayan Venkat, told InfoStor, is to provide businesses with an "on ramp to flash" while preserving the big investments they already poured into their existing data storage infrastructures. "We recognize that customers have tremendous investment in their legacy storage," he said, before adding that they may "not necessarily be ready to move to a memory tier."

Operating on Violin Memory Appliances, 2U units each with 8 TB of SSD storage, Maestro software accommodates data center operators and IT shops that may be flirting with flash in the hopes of accelerating their applications and databases, and hence their revenue-generating potential. Employed in conjunction with the company's Violin Memory Operating System (vMOS) and Violin Symphony management software, Maestro "revitalizes existing IT infrastructure to be more agile and responsive to business needs," boasted the company in a statement.

Maestro leverages hardware-accelerated appliances and self-learning software to analyze I/O flows and optimize performance by intelligently managing data movement between flash and disk-based capacity -- all without changes to existing apps, servers or SAN setups. According to Violin, the setup delivers up to a 5x reduction in latency and triples the transactions in Oracle environments compared to conventional SANs. In SAP, Maestro offers up to ten times the number of transactions and halves CPU utilization.

The underlying tech "allows us to get an end-to-end view" of data traffic patterns, allowing Maestro therefore "to accelerate end-to-end," imbuing enterprise applications, transaction processing systems and virtualized environments with performance gains, said Venkat. Once hooked on that performance, his company is betting that enterprises will demand more.

Maestro "enables the pervasive adoption of memory technology in data centers," he added.

Violin is hoping that Maestro's vendor agnostic, non-invasive and memory-first approach will help the company notch more gains in the market. Both IDC and Gartner recently named Violin number one in flash storage. It may also help the company pull further ahead of incumbent players, which are investing furiously to bulk up their flash portfolios.

Last year EMC snapped up SSD array pure play XtremIO for $430 million. During a recent press event in Milan, Italy, EMC talked up flash storage's disruptive effect on the industry. Of late, the company has been pushing its PCIe flash cards and extending support for flash to other product lines like VMAX.

This summer, HP revamped its converged storage portfolio. An all-flash storage array, the HP 3PAR StoreServ 7450, was among the highlights. With a price tag of $99,000 to start, the hardware delivers over 550,000 input/output operations per second (IOPS) and sub-0.7 millisecond response times.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.


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