Violin announces highest-capacity SSD array

The Violin 3140 array scales to 500TB per rack

Violin Memory today announced its highest-capacity solid-state drive (SSD) storage array, which comes in modules that scale from 10TB to 40TB each and to 500TB per rack.

The 3140 Capacity Flash Memory Array uses multilevel cell (MLC) NAND flash memory from Toshiba in a 3U (5.25-in high) configuration, which is less expensive than single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash. Violin said that by using MLC memory, it was able to reduce the price of the array.

The Violin 3140 is priced by both capacity and throughput. The array is generally available for around $16 per GB of capacity and $3 per IOPS (I/O per second).

"It is important to understand that while the solid-state industry is famous for breaking new IOPS records, some customers instead need a more cost-effective middle ground that delivers significantly better performance than 15K RPM drives at a similar price point," George Crump, lead analyst at Storage Switzerland, said in a statement. "Capacity Flash has the potential to be that missing link -- the cost-effective 50K RPM drive."

The Violin 3140 provides five times greater rack density (500TB/rack) and performance with one-fifth the latency and power of standard spinning hard disk drive enclosures, the company said. Because of its smaller footprint, reduced power consumption and lower cooling requirements, the Violin 3100 can "halve the operating costs of the traditional data center," the company stated in a news release.

Violin said a 500TB rack of Violin 3100 modules can handle up to 2 million IOPS. "Equivalent HDD/SSD storage systems would need five racks (or more) of equipment," it stated.

The Violin 3140 shares a common operating system with Violin's higher-end array, the 3200, which uses SLC NAND flash. The array's SSDs are hot-swappable.

"Through our partnership with Toshiba, Violin has brought to market an enterprise-grade MLC-based storage array that is both significantly higher density and lower cost than traditional performance storage arrays," Don Basile, CEO of Violin Memory, said in a statement. "No longer will organizations need to choose between low-cost HDDs and high-performance SSDs."

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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