Violin Snags Another Top Notch Exec – Victim VMware

Narayan Venkat, former VP of VMware Cloud Business is the newest person to come over to Violin Memory. Narayan joins a notable list including Garry Veale, HP’s former VP of EMEA’s StorageWorks Division and Jonathan Goldick, former CTO of OnStor. These new individuals plus the talent from Fusion IO that came when Donald Basile, CEO of Violin Memory took over in 2009 are forming a Mercenary Team of Flash Performance.

Narayan, as the New VP of Product Management mission at Violin will be to bring feature rich parity to the Hypervisor world. It’s obvious that vSphere is on the top of the list for Violin but when I asked about Hyper-V both Narayan and Matt Barletta, VP of Product Marketing where quick to answer with a yes. Both Matt and Narayan were very excited when they where talking about Violin’s grass roots in database performance and their plans to tackle Tier I applications that were left off sitting on physical hardware.

Toshiba was the inventor of NAND flash and has made a significant investment in Violin Memory. This gives Violin access to a supply chain and tools to make sure that their flash can work at scale. Adding additional size to your arrays to handle wear levelling will not work at this scale. It’s also worth noting Toshiba hasn’t invested in an American company in 8 years, I think that says a lot about what Violin is accomplishing.

Violin is leaving two empty X86 sockets on thier storage arrays that allow for features to be added to the arrays without affecting performance. Today you only get raw speed but snapshots, VAAI, replication will be coming down the pipe. It also brings opportunity to bring the application to the data. Lately all efforts have been bringing the IO to the compute, I like the change in direction. The empty sockets will also allow for dedupe to happen, not sure if it will be inline or not. All said it will be interesting to see what develops.

Violin isn’t the only one doing Flash today but strong leadership and finalical backing can go along way. If Violin can deliver on the hypervisor, they might have a change to unseat the old boys club on top of the storage stack. I look forward to seeing what Narayan can deliver at his new post. Narayan had VMware’s EUC vision all but memorised when we talked so I am hoping that Project Horizon and Octopus have a small home on some flash array somewhere.


  1. Storage Wag says:

    NAND flash is a commodity, having Toshiba as an investor offers no competitive advantage. Toshiba’s NAND is no different than other vendor’s NAND.

    There’s atleast 2 dozen startups at last count and a dozen storage majors on cusp of releasing flash into their existing account bases. There’s not room for 3 dozen players here. All these vendors will succumb eventually to market realities of a commodity play.

    • dlessner says:

      I removed the first two sentences, name calling with no explaniation is pretty weak, or at least leave your name so they can defend themselves.

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