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Violin rises from ashes with new products planned for 2018

Bankrupted all-flash pioneer’s CEO says company has learned the lessons of its demise and is planning file, object, software-defined storage and a careful entry into the NVMe market

Flash storage pioneer Violin Memory has emerged from bankruptcy and is aiming for new file, cloud and object access additions to its products in 2018 plus software-defined storage, with NVMe systems planned for 2019.

But it will not rush into the NVMe market, said CEO Ebrahim Abbasi, who spelt out the lessons he believed had been learned from the events that led to Violin’s bankruptcy earlier this year.

“The company went public [in 2013], money was spent and there wasn’t much focus on the future,” he said.

“The company was run by smart people and they thought they could conquer the world. But successful companies should be prepared to be copied and they missed out on getting to the maturation phase.”

Key products for Violin are still the 7650 and 7450 all-flash arrays launched last September and the high-availability stretch cluster that can link Violin instances at up to 100km.

Building on this, in the second quarter out of bankruptcy, Abbasi said Violin has “regained the confidence of customers”,  provided cashflow with “a positive line of sight to profit” and is providing 24/7 support. It is also looking at software acquisitions, he said.

The company is now planning its next product phases, said Abbasi. By mid-2018, Violin plans to introduce file and block access storage on the same platform. Currently, its products are block access only.

By the end of next year, it aims to provide access to the public cloud as a tier of storage, storage quality of service policies, products delivered as software-defined storage and object storage capabilities.

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Abbasi said the company is looking at “mid- to late 2019” as a release date for Violin NVMe-based products. “There are no precise dates we can give,” he said. “We are filing for 45 patents.

“We’ve got our own SSD technology and we will not abandon leadership in IOPS and latency.”

Violin will have a patient approach to NVMe, said Abbasi. “When the market is ready to monetise NVMe and use it operationally, we will be ready,” he said.

NVMe, 3D NAND and 3D Xpoint will revolutionise storage, but the architectures to take advantage of them are not ready, nor are customers. We have got patents and we are doing our homework. We won’t rush to market.”

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