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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 13 November 2007
Table of Contents: Page Index
SC07 SuperComputing Coverage - Violin Memory
Violin 1010 VIMM Memory Appliance

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Violin 1010 VIMM

Violin Memory has launched the industry's first terabyte-scale Memory Appliance, the Violin 1010. Memory Appliances are flexible and scalable memory systems that can be used as either Extended Memory or High Performance Storage. The Violin 1010 connects to a server and provides almost 10 times the capacity of memory per rack and per Watt. A single rack of Violin 1010 can support 10 Terabyte of DRAM at less than 1W per Gigabyte! The 90% power savings per Gigabyte is important for the green data center.

The Violin 1010 is based on Violin Switched Memory (VXM) technology. VXM solves the key problems of scalable memory, including power efficiency and reliability. VXM also has in-built support for other memory types, including NAND Flash. The applications that benefit are those that process large datasets such as image, video, web content or scientific data. Today, systems are built with performance-limiting disk arrays or power-inefficient clustered servers. The Violin 1010 provides a third alternative; place the dataset in very fast and dense Memory Appliances.

The Violin 1010 is the industry's first Memory Appliance, capable of supporting both Scalable Memory (DRAM) or High Performance Storage (NAND Flash) or a mixture of the two. The first release of the Violin 1010 supports 504GB of DRAM in a 2U chassis. Violin Switched Memory (VXM) technology provides the Violin 1010 with the following significant benefits:

  • 10x improvement in the DRAM density and GByte/Watt over servers
  • 100x improvement in latency and IOPS over disk drives

SC07 SuperComputing Coverage - Violin Memory

The Violin 1010 Memory Appliance is designed for high density, performance and reliability and includes the following system components:

  • Memory Controller with RAID
  • PCI Express interface (4x & 8x interfaces)
  • 84 VIMMS
  • Slide-mounted Chassis with Cable Management
  • Dual Feed 12V Power
  • Redundant Fans and Temperature Monitoring
  • Server resident Driver
SC07 SuperComputing Coverage - Violin Memory

Violin Intelligent Memory Modules (VIMMs) are a blend of Violin Intelligence and DIMM economics. A Memory Appliance can be configured with as many VIMMs as required. A full complement of VIMMS within a system provides the maximum performance and fault tolerance. Each VIMM consist of three primary components:

  • Memory: The VIMM will contain many memory devices. In the first VIMM, 54 DRAM devices each of 1 Gigabit are used to support 6 Gigabyte of DRAM with ECC.
  • Violin Intelligence: The Violin Buffer provides intelligence including the 3 port switch, memory and power management and ECC logic.
  • Memory Module Packaging: The VIMMs use a DDR2 module package with 5.25" long connectors and 240 pins. The modules are 2.75" tall to maximize memory density in a 2U chassis.

SC07 SuperComputing Coverage - Violin Memory

The second release of VIMMs will be based on NAND Flash and provide very high density and persistent storage. The 64 Gigabyte VIMMs planned would support a 5 Terabyte Violin 1010. The Violin 1010 and the associated Violin Intelligent Memory Modules (VIMMs) are now available. A 120 Gigabyte DRAM Starter Kit is available for less than $50K.

Violin Starter Kits

Violin DRAM starter kits simplify the process of evaluating the Violin 1010 with any application. The starter kit includes everything needed to connect a server to a 120 Gigabyte Violin 1010 system. The Violin DRAM starter kit is available for under $50,000 and includes the following:

  • Violin 1010
  • 20 x 6 Gigabyte VIMMs
  • 1200W power supply and rack-mount kit
  • Low profile (2U) PCIe x4 HIB
  • Driver software (Linux RHEL, SUSE Linux Enterprise)
  • PCIe External Cable (3m)

If you would like to test drive a Violin DRAM Starter Kit, please contact Violin.

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