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StorageSearch.com talks "SSD" to Violin's CEO
|Editor:- November 17, 2010 - I spoke to
Basile, CEO of Violin Memory, and
Barletta just prior to their launch of a new SSD solution (see
news archive for
I said I wasn't so much interested in this new product
announcement - to me it just looked like an incremental tool - which would make
it easier to use their SSDs - I was more interested in getting a refresh on what
the company was doing and how it viewed itself. Violin was a company which
emerged from stealth mode in our publication in
2007 - and for
a while captured a lot of interest - being ranked in the
top 10 SSDs companies
list (at that time) and also the
They confirmed they felt very much like a new company -
since they had an investment from Toshiba in April.
I asked them to
clarify for our readers - how would they compare themselves to a company like
said they had never heard of NextIO - and when they looked at our
SSD pages they didn't
really think they had much in common with the other SSD companies listed here.
they said they were going for global 5,000 companies which were using EMC /
NetApp - particularly in Oracle apps. They said they had a good competitive
to arrays of hard drives.
At this point I had to say that
StorageSearch.com was successfully advertising million dollar terabyte SSD
rackmounts from 2 vendors as long ago as
- when they first appeared - and INMO this demonstrated pretty well that our
readers were exactly the kind of people they should be thinking more about.
They admitted they should be doing more to say what they are doing in
the market to editors.
I asked them about how their business was doing
- and in particular were they seeing any drop-off in
said - on the contrary that their RAM based appliance business was growing - and
overall their SSD business was growing faster than anything they had seen in
previous companies. In the enterprise SSD acceleration market they said they
thought the next few years would see a lot of winners. This is such a huge
market that many vendors can grow without bumping into each other.
got onto the subject of Oracle. Fast SSDs are a natural fit for Oracle
databases. I said I thought that Violin's patented non blocking read after
write flash architecture (which I wrote about a few years ago) could give them a
competitive advantage - but they - the people at Violin would have to
communicate better about their SSD controller technology.
They said it
was interesting that so many people were reading about companies like
SandForce - it was
like in the old days when everyone wanted to know details about the latest Intel
processors - even though most people would never get to design one into a
I said - I thought it was because reading about new
controller chips was
the nearest thing that users could get to an
SSD performance roadmap.
to Oracle - they asked what I thought about the fact that some analyst had named
Violin as a possible acquisition target by Oracle? I had never seen that report
(they sent me a copy after we spoke) but I had spoken to countless VCs and oems
during the past 4 years about which SSDs would be good to invest in and which to
buy. In my view the potential acquirers didn't know enough about the SSD market
to ask the right questions. But I always point them to the newest version of my
top 10 SSD list -
because that has been the best predictor of future success.
legacy versus new
dynasty question - Violin said they are definitely legacy.
away glad that we had taken the time to talk. Violin has got a better sense
of its identity compared to when it entered the market. From my perspective
they looked like a company which had almost gone back into stealth mode for a
year or so and thereby lost their initial market impetus. They have an
intrinsically impressive product which they should be shouting more about.
It's up to them to do it. My impression is I don't think they know as much
about the SSD market
- as they really should - but they may not matter - because in a
fast growing market
- to use their words "there will be lots of winners."
|"This is Violin's
highest ranking in this list and an amazing come-back for a company which a
few years ago had appeared to go back into stealth mode and virtually
|...Editor:- from the
Q3 2011 edition
the Top SSD Companies.|
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