Violin Storage to acquire X-IO storage

High performance flash pioneer Violin Systems has agreed to buy X-IO's ISE division. What does that mean for customers shopping for high performance storage?

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Violin Systems LLC today announced it has signed a Letter of Intent with X-IO Technologies to acquire X-IO Storage, the division of X-IO Technologies that developed the Intelligent Storage Element (ISE) flash and hybrid storage array product lines. They expect the asset acquisition to close within 30 days.

Violin Systems, maker of extremely high performance flash arrays, is buying the ISE division of X-IO, maker of cost-effective enterprise storage, to broaden the company's customer base, and to integrate Violin's performance with the ISE's efficient deduplication technology, proactive monitoring, industry-leading 5 year warranty, and cost-effective packaging. The goal is to offer Tier 0 performance at Tier 1 storage costs.

As Violin Chairman and CEO, Mark Lewis, put it to me this morning, "We think we can be 4 to 5 times faster than the big guys, at 40 percent of the cost."

The Storage Bits take

For decades, storage consumers have focussed on IOPS (I/Os Per Second) as the figure of merit for storage systems. But with the widespread adoption of flash storage, even single SSDs can offer more IOPS than most systems can use.

Which should have shifted buyer focus to the latency of storage systems, both average latency and variability of latency. There's been some attention lately to latency's long-tail numbers - which are the ones that create maddening performance problems - but the focus on easy-to-measure IOPS still blinds customers to the cost of high and variable latency.

High I/O latencies means CPUs spend more time waiting, and performing expensive context switches to keep busy. Low latencies enable more computing with fewer cores and lower costs, both in hardware and software.

If the combined forces of Violin's very low latency kit and the ISE's low-cost, high performance systems can deliver Tier 0 performance at Tier 1 costs, they will have a hit product. The company plans to begin delivering the fruits of the acquisition next year.

Courteous comments welcome, of course.