Violin Memory

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Violin Memory
Type Public
Traded as NYSEVMEM
Industry Computer data storage
Founded 2005
Founder(s) Jon Bennett and Donpaul Stephens
Headquarters Santa Clara, California, U.S.
Key people Kevin DeNuccio, CEO
Products Solid-state storage

Violin Memory is a public American company based in Silicon Valley, California, that designs and manufactures computer data storage products.


The company was founded in 2005 by Donpaul Stephens and Jon Bennett who patented using RAID on flash memory.[1] Violin was re-founded and recapitalized in 2009 by Donald G. Basile, who had been CEO of Fusion-io. It originally was named Violin Technologies in Iselin, New Jersey.[2]

Series A financing valued over $10 million was raised in 2010. Two more rounds of financing in 2011 raised an additional $75 million. Corporate investors included Juniper Networks and Toshiba America Electronic Components (TAEC). It was based in Mountain View, California around this time. Series D financing $80 million in March 2012 was led by SAP Ventures (arm of SAP AG), and included Highland Capital, GSV and others. The reported valuation was over $800 million.[3][4]

In September 2011 Violin announced the 6000 series all-silicon shared flash memory storage arrays.[5] A single 3 rack unit tall array was promoted for applications that need a high rate of I/O operations per second (IOPS). 6000 Series flash Memory Arrays connect using 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel, 10-gigabit Ethernet for the iSCSI protocol, and 40 Gbit/s InfiniBand networks. They are managed by the Violin Memory Operating System. Violin products have specific technology designed for the Toshiba NAND chips themselves using vRAID and hot-swap capabilities.[6][1]

On August 15, 2012 the San Francisco 49ers announced a partnership with the company for the Levi's Stadium that started construction in March 2012.[7]

On January 21, 2013, Violin announced it acquired Gridiron Systems for an undisclosed sum.[8][9] On March 4, 2013 Violin announced the Velocity line of PCI Express cards in an alliance with Toshiba.[10][11]

On August 12, 2013 Violin announced its first 19nm multi-level cell system (model 6264) with 64 TB of capacity.[12] At the same time the Violin Symphony management system was introduced to manage multiple systems using common devices such as iPads and iPhones.[citation needed]

On August 26, 2013, Violin filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for its initial public offering (IPO).[13] On September 16, pricing was estimated to raise about $160 million, with the stock shares listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VMEM.[14] The filings reported a net loss of $109.1 million in fiscal 2013 on revenues of $73.8 million, and Basile's compensation estimated at over $14 million in stock awards, $400,000 salary, and $725,500 in bonus.[14] The IPO on September 27, 2013, did raise $162 million, but the share price declined 22% on its first day of trading.[15][16] By then it was headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

On November 21, 2013, the company announced wider than expected losses of $34 million on $28 million in revenues; its share price dropped to about one-third of its initial offering price on the following day.[17]

Violin Memory's share price never again reached its initial [IPO] trading price and in December 2013 the company terminated CEO Basile,[18] replacing him with Kevin DeNuccio in February 2014.[19] A few months later Violin announced to sell its PCIe product line to SK Hynix Inc..[20]


Products are enterprise flash memory arrays that combine Toshiba NAND flash, DRAM, and software for server computers and clustered file systems in data centers.[21]

Violin is used in reference architectures and benchmark results by Cisco Systems,[22][23][24] Dell,[25] Fujitsu,[26] Hewlett-Packard,[27][28] IBM,[29][30] Oracle,[31][32] SAP Adaptive Server Enterprise,[33] VMware[34]and Microsoft.[35]

Competitors include X-IO Technologies, Nimbus Data, SolidFire, Whiptail (acquired by Cisco Systems), Texas Memory Systems, Pure Storage, Oracle Exadata and Kaminario.[36][37] In October 2013, a market survey showed Violin leading in number of arrays installed, but with a generally low rate of usage across all vendors.[38] In 2014 another market survey showed that market leadership was taken over by IBM.[39]


  1. ^ a b Jon C. R. Bennett (March 26, 2008). "Memory management system and method". US Patent 8200887 B2. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities". Edgar. US Securities and Exchange Commission. July 12, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Violin Memory raises $50M, brings valuation to $800M". Silicon Valley Business Journal. March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities". Edgar. US Securities and Exchange Commission. March 29, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ Robin Harris (April 11, 2012). "Violin’s clean-sheet architecture". Storage Mojo blog. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ Robin Harris (June 12, 2012). "Hot-swap in a non-SSD flash array". Storage Mojo blog. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  7. ^ "49ers Announce Violin Memory as Stadium Founding Partner". Press release. San Francisco 49ers. August 15, 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Violin Memory Acquires GridIron Systems". Press release (Violin Memory). January 21, 2013. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Gridiron Systems". Company web site. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Violin Memory Completes its Vision of a Memory-Based IT Infrastructure by Announcing an Expansion of its Strategic Alliance with Toshiba". Press release (Violin Memory). March 4, 2013. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ Chris Mellor (March 4, 2013). "Violin Memory fires PCIe server card salvoes at rival Fusion-io". The Register. Retrieved October 23, 2013. 
  12. ^ Robin Harris (August 12, 2013). "Flash geometry and performance". Storage Mojo blog. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  13. ^ Brian Deagon (September 16, 2013). "Flash Storage Provider Violin Sets IPO Pricing Terms". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b Violin Memory (September 16, 2013). "Amendment No. 1 to Form S-1: Registration Statement". Prospectus. US Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  15. ^ Alex Williams (September 29, 2013). "Violin Memory Struggles In IPO And Now Faces A Fierce Storage and Enterprise Market". Tech Crunch. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  16. ^ Jeremy C. Owens and Peter Delevett (September 27, 2013). "Violin Memory's price craters after $162 million IPO". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  17. ^ Cromwell Schubarth (November 22, 2013). "Violin Memory plunges to a third of its IPO price on big loss". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Struggling Flash Storage Firm Violin Memory Fires Its CEO". VentureBeat. December 16, 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Violin Memory Announces Agreement to Sell its PCIe Product Line". Violin Memory Systems. May 29, 2014. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Violin Memory". Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  22. ^ "Cisco Leads Cloud Computing Performance with the Industry’s First VMware vSphere 5.1 Benchmark Result Powered by the Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server". Performance brief. Cisco Systems. September 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Infrastructure Matters: Cisco UCS Sets World-Record Cloud Computing Performance Powered by the Cisco UCS B200 M3 Blade Server". Performance brief. Cisco Systems. September 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  24. ^ Raghunath Nambiar (September 27, 2012). "Introducing the World’s Fastest 2-Processor Server". Blog. Cisco. Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  25. ^ Richard Thomchick (December 11, 2012). "Violin Memory Sets VMark Performance Record at Dell World 2012". Company blog. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  26. ^ "All-Flash Arrays: Violin Memory 6000 Flash Memory Arrays". Web site. Fujitsu. Retrieved September 18, 2013. 
  27. ^ "HP VMA-series Memory Arrays (VMA)". HP web site. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  28. ^ Chris Mellor (September 2, 2011). "HP plays tune on the flash Violin: Can NetApp spread syrup on its WAFL?". The Register. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  29. ^ Steve Wexler (July 22, 2011). "IBM Validates Violin's 37X Faster Flash Memory Array". Network Computing. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  30. ^ Richard Freitas, Joseph Slember, Wayne Sawdon and Lawrence Chiu (July 19, 2011). "GPFS Scans 10 Billion Files in 43 Minutes". Research Report. IBM. 
  31. ^ "Cisco UCS C250 M2 Extended-Memory Server". TPC-C result executive summary. December 7, 2011. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Violin Memory Helps Cisco and Oracle Deliver World-Record TPC-C Benchmark Result". Press release (Violin Memory). October 1, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Violin Memory with Sybase ASE 15.7, Report Number 384". Sybase partner certification repository. November 2012. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  34. ^ Joshua Schnee (July 12, 2013). "Comparing Storage Density, Power, and Performance with VMmark 2.5". Blog. VMware. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  35. ^ "SQL Server Reference Architecture". Microsoft web site. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  36. ^ Stephen Foskett (February 14, 2012). "Nimbus E-Class: The First Big, Redundant, All-Flash Enterprise Array". Grestalt IT. Retrieved August 12, 2013. 
  37. ^ Chris Mellor (April 7, 2011). "HP and Violin build Oracle Exadata killer: Can flash save the world?". The Register. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  38. ^ Chris Mellor (October 4, 2013). "Violin Memory is winning flash-supply race – Quadragon rivals: Just don't mention how few vendors are actually shifting flash gear". Retrieved October 22, 2013. 
  39. ^ Chris Mellor (June 13, 2014). "IBM officially biggest all-flash array shipper". The Register. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 

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