Fujitsu teams with Violin to drive ‘Ferrari’ SSDs

Fujitsu has announced a partnership with Violin Memory to incorporate the Silicon Valley firm’s solid state drives (SSDs) into its storage arrays

Fujitsu has announced a partnership with Violin Memory to incorporate the Silicon Valley firm’s solid state drives (SSDs) into its storage arrays.

The Violin 6000 system will be stocked solely with flash storage, offering a high performance system with large capacity and low latency.

The European region will be the test bed of the partnership, before it rolls out globally and Fujitsu will be selling the systems through its direct sales, targeting customers looking for large database or desktop virtualisation solutions.

There is still a price barrier with SSDs though, as they are far more expensive than their traditional hard disk predecessors. However, Frank Reichart, senior director of product marketing at Fujitsu, believes it is up to companies like his to change the mindset of how the IT industry views paying for storage.

“Always the questions [are around] yes, it is pretty expensive,” he said at this week’s SNW conference in Frankfurt. “It is built around flash memory – it is Ferrari, they drive fast but it’s not cheap.

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“The typical storage customer thinks of price per gigabyte, but those type of usage scenarios? That is not the complete way you should think about it.”

Reichart said you needed to look at the full picture of datacentre prices when working out if using flash memory could save you money, rather than cost you more.

“It could be price by input/output (IO) or input/output per second (IOPS), but you also should consider the full stack, because the traditional way to cope with performance was adding more disks, more spindles, fumbling around the network. Or on the other side – a lot of investment on the server part.

“We did a lot of over-provisioning in traditional storage; you didn’t need it at the capacity, you did it for performance reasons. With all flash, you buy exactly the amount of storage you need. Servers are waiting for the data and flash can remove these unnecessary ones. There are even implications into software licensing, depending on CPU count, processor relationship and if you can reduce the server count because actually they are just waiting for performance.”

It is all about who they approach with the product though. Facilities managers, for example, love the cost savings flash can offer by needing less arrays, taking up less room in the datacentre and requiring less power or cooling.

“It is changing a little bit – the way of thinking – but people still need educating,” concluded Reichart.

The Violin 6000 systems will go on sale today.

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