Insights, Best Practices and Forward Thinking from the Customer Facing Team, Solution Architects and Leaders on Extreme Performance Applications, Infrastructure, Storage and the Real-World Impact Possible

“Violin’s Right: SSD Format is WRONG”

by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on September 15, 2015
Right/Wrong

Did you know that a recent article published by Chris Mellor of The Register states "DSSD says Violin's right: SSD format is WRONG for flash memory" 1

With this type of provocative statement (kind of like Violin's message that "Disk is Dead & No SSDs), one might ask what else does Mellor think?

In his recent article, Mellor states that competitors to Violin are working on in-house designed flash memory modules similar to Violin's fourth generation Violin Intelligent Memory Module (VIMM).

So clearly, the market is moving toward purpose-built design as further reinforced by Mellor market landscape knowledge: "…our understanding is that Pure Storage is also developing its own flash-carrying modules and stepping away from the SSD format…"

So it's prudent for IT professionals to ask: why are vendors making this shift?

Mellor states: "Developing proprietary flash cards can lead to lower power budgets, less heat generation, and faster data access times compared to standard SSD or PCIe form factors." These advantages are exactly what Violin touts everyday on our web page: the benefits of Total Cost of Ownership, or said in another way True Cost of Ownership.

There is though more to the story than just Chris Mellor's and my perspective. A recently released IDC White Paper2 reinforces these perspectives.

The IDC White Paper stated "The company [Violin] has chosen a custom flash module (CFM)-based architecture, and is leveraging the advantages of the visibility this provides at the individual cell level to drive higher performance, better efficiency, and lower cost."

When a custom module hardware design like Violin's is tightly integrated with a complete software stack, from microcode to management console, as Violin has done, users get more.

Users also get availability, reliability, consolidation and performance and complete data services like Violin's asynchronous replication, continuous data protection, and stretch clustering.

In this context, it's important to note that users can, as Mellor has suggested, benefit from the superior density and performance of a purpose-built, zero-downtime, fully redundant architecture. Users and IT professionals both can expect:

  • Layers of data protection that can be managed simply at a very granular level -- Data services as well as deduplication and compression can be toggled for optimal performance or data protection.
  • The peace of mind that comes from a purpose-built hardware architecture coupled with top-to-bottom control of the software stack.

A custom flash module is a good first step, one that Violin took ten years ago. As the trends indicate, hardware matters… architecture matters. But it is only part of the story. The data services and data efficiency features tightly integrated to that hardware architecture are of equal importance.

...And that is the rest of the story.


1 (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/07/dssd_says_violin_is_right_ssd_format_wrong/)

2 Why AFA Architecture Matters as Enterprises Pursue Dense Mixed Workload Consolidation, sponsored by Violin Systems and written by Mr. Eric Burgener, Research Director for IDC's Storage Practice http://www.violin-memory.com/idc-report-architecture-matters/