All-Flash symphony from Violin Memory

Violin Memory is a US based Public company known for their AFA (All-Flash-Array ) storage systems in the market. Storage Field Day 8 (SFD8) helped me in having a deeper dive to the technical details of  Violin’s AFA products. Let us discuss the AFA (All-Flash-Array) architecture and technology from Violin memory here in this post.

Violin Memory Logo Full Color on White Backround - PMS431+PMS369

Nowadays the basic application requirement is performance – not GBs. And that is the reason for emerging FLASH requirements and the reason for many startups in AFA industry. Violin Memory (in the market since 2005) have some uniqueness in their products and here let’s go through some of those points.

Hardware : Violin -instead of using commodity SSDs (what all AFA vendors do) for an AFA array- have designed their own FLASH modules called VIMMs (Violin Intelligent Memory Modules). VIMMs are made of NAND FLASH chips from Toshiba. They are designed for FLASH optimized data paths and for high level of resiliency. Multiple VIMMs  from the Flash Memory Fabric are configured in different vRAID groups.

vRAID is a proprietary RAID architecture optimized for high performance for an AFA system.


Violin hardware architecture is well designed considering the easy future upgrades without disturbing the modular architecture . The system does not require a complete revamp in case if they have to add a new/upgraded version of any component (VIMM modules, controller boards with latest processors etc… ) available in the market. The change happens only at the specific – small – part alone (as in the image).

The latest systems from Violin array are 73K and 77K which are available in 3 varieties (Capacity, Performance and Enterprise). The 77K systems supports up to 2PB and more than 2M IOPS.

Software :  The major software components in a Violin system include Concerto OS and Symphony software.

Concerto OS is the key for a Violin AFA system which helps to achieve the maximum performance from the FLASH modules. This core software improves the system performance with IO path optimization for thin/thick data, advanced dedupe mechanism, reduced IO contention etc… Concerto is the software enables some of the necessary software services including replication, CDP, CDR etc…

Symphony software is the unified management software which enables the management of all Violin products in single console. It software helps in easy accessibility and deployment of Violin products. Symphony software supports e-mail and SNMP monitoring and reporting, integration with AD/LDAP and VMware integration (vCenter plugin and VASA integration) etc… also.

Additional resources

You may find additional reading here and presentation videos from the Tech Field Day website here.

Visit the Violin Memory website for product overview and additional resources. You may read more about the FLASH storage platform here.

More posts from SFD8 on Violin –

  1. Dan Firth – Violin Memory – Sounds a lot better than it used to
  2. Mark May – Can Violin Step back From the Brink?

Here you can find more posts from me on SFD8.

Disclaimer: My travel and accommodation expenses for the SFD8 (Storage Field Day 8) event were paid by the Tech Field Day team. I am not requested to post about event content and I am not getting paid for any posts or for the time I spend during the event.

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