While we will detail the 3200 in greater detail in an upcoming Storage Switzerland article here is a quick overview. First Violin labels the product as a memory array, not a solid state disk, which implies that this is a system designed specifically and exclusively to carry solid state storage data not a retrofitted storage array that typically houses mechanical drives.

The 3200 uses flash boards, which Violin calls VIMMs, not solid state drives. The advantage is that they can significantly increase the density of solid state per unit. The unit can support 10TB of capacity in a 3U enclosure. Density of memory helps Violin in all three aspects of the price, performance and reliability scales that I mention above. Performance is improved because there is more available flash modules to write data to. This helps with raw I/O and limits the impact of write saturation because the clean up functions have more available flash memory cells to clean up. The density helps in cost  because the cost of housing 10TB of SSD beyond the actual memory cost is now limited to a single unit. Compare this to a legacy based system that may take shelves and shelves of SSD drives to deliver 10TB's.

Reliability is improved because of this density but in addition Violin has added a new RAID technique designed specifically for solid state memory. Violin uses hot spare VIMMs to offer a fail in place capability of the flash modules. However if a module needs to be replaced each one of the VIMMs mentioned above are hot swap replaceable and even include an LED that indicates a failed module.

Because it address the key elements in enterprise adoption, price, performance and reliability, Violin's 3200 is well positioned to answer the "When will solid state be in the enterprise" question.

George Crump, Senior Analyst

Flash Memory Summit Briefing