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April 28, 2014

Violin Memory, Microsoft Develop All-Flash Array Solution

Violin Memory, a provider of all-flash storage arrays and appliances, and Microsoft (News - Alert) have jointly developed the Windows Flash Array (WFA).

WFA is an all-flash storage array, and is powered by Windows Storage Server 2012 R2. It offers storage and data services for the enterprise, and also provides faster times on Microsoft apps.

The companies say data centers will find by using WFAs they will lower costs and lower response times. Two ways it improves speed of data is by using Remote Direct Memory Access and Server Message Block Direct on the flash array, according to a report from ComputerWorld.

“By jointly developing this highly integrated solution with Violin Memory, we are working together to provide enterprise and cloud customers with dramatically improved performance, scalability, and economics for their Windows applications — virtualized, physical and cloud,” Bill Laing, corporate vice president of Microsoft, said in a statement.

Customers will get features like continuous availability, data deduplication, encryption, scalability, and thin provisioning. The company said that by using the new technology, users can connect external storage that performs like fast local storage.

“The WFA solution with Microsoft’s vast suite of server applications is critical for enterprises trying to revolutionize the performance, scale and cost of data center and cloud deployments,” Kevin DeNuccio (News - Alert), CEO of Violin Memory, added in the statement. “This collaboration with Microsoft produces the necessary integration of compute, network, applications, and storage for customers designing the next generation of cloud and virtualized solutions.”

During beta tests of the WFA customers said they got up to two times the write performance and up to 50 percent higher read performance. Performance has improved for Hyper-V, Microsoft virtual desktop infrastructure and SQL Server, as well.

In addition, Dave Vellante, chief research officer at Wikibon, said in the statement that the Windows Flash Array “is unique in the market.”

“By embedding Windows management functionality into the storage controller, Microsoft and Violin are solving a problem we often hear from practitioners in the Wikibon community. Namely, that they don’t have the resources, skills or desire to deal with a separate storage management system. We believe closer integration between Windows and an all-flash array will have broad appeal for SMBs [small- and medium-sized businesses] who are resource strapped, and large organizations that want to eliminate management complexity,” Vellante said.

“We're blown away with the Violin Memory Windows Flash Array that combines the power of both,” Brian Garrett, vice president of ESG, agreed in the statement. “This unique partnership has created a one of a kind solution that dramatically increases the performance and efficiency of business critical application workloads like Microsoft SQL Server and VDI.”

The new solution came as Violin and Microsoft worked together for a year to come up with “custom code to tie its hardware and software together,” according to The Register. The WFA is available from Violin Memory and its channel partners.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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