On 4 March 2013, the storage solution provider Violin Memory and Toshiba, its lead investor, announced that they will extend their alliance to develop, manufacture and distribute Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) solid-state drives (SSDs). PCIe card price points will start at $3 per GB and $6 per GB for the higher-end offering.
The deepening alliance between Toshiba and Violin Memory, which Gartner named a Cool Vendor in 2011 (see "Cool Vendors in Storage Technologies, 2011" ) will foster credible competition in the emerging PCIe SSD market and enable the creation of more innovative data center solutions as flash memory reaches lower price points. Price points for PCIe cards indicate that the alliance will clearly be leveraging Toshiba's direct flash memory manufacturing capabilities.
SSDs are already a standard component with storage arrays. Within the next three years, Gartner expects they will also become a standard component within servers, as they offer the most economical approach to driving the highest performance with the minimal amount of latency currently possible in storage. However, the market is still just starting to emerge. Toshiba's and Violin's alliance and the recently announced strategic partnership between Virident and Seagate will challenge the lead PCIe SSD supplier Fusion-io. As competition intensifies, prices erode, standardization occurs and software further enhances the value proposition, the use of PCIe cards will extend beyond their core market of hyperscale customers into transaction processing, in-memory computing and increasingly virtualized environments. Data management software capabilities are likely the next area of innovation related to this market.
In addition to boosting the PCIe market, this strategic alliance will benefit both companies:
Data center professionals:
Storage OEMs and hyperscale storage customers:
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