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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

{mosjrhead ddr3 memory kit|ddr memory kit|}

VXM: Violin Switched Memory

On my first day of SC07, I found myself a bit overwhelmed at the number of supercomputer demonstrations taking place at the convention. But among the myriad of racks and monitors I discovered something that was never before seen. One of the first booth visits was with Violin Memory, which offered a very unique Enterprise class memory appliance. Boasting a 1.7 GBps bandwidth over 504 GB of total RAM (see below), I couldn't help myself but to take a few pictures for our readers. Look a little closer, and you might be impressed to see the numerous VIMMs populating the Violin 1010 appliance.

SC07 SuperComputing Coverage

Violin Switched Memory (VXM) is a radical, patent-pending, redesign of memory systems for large dataset applications. Instead of the traditional bus topology, a switched network topology is used. The switched topology provides the following benefits:

  • Scale: A single memory controller supports 4000 or more memory devices.
  • Latency: The latency through a switched network is similar or better than a repeated bus network.
  • Bandwidth: The sustained bandwidth of the network is high for both random and linear accesses.
  • Fault Tolerance: The network copes with one or more module losses without loss of data and application interruption.
  • Power: The heat and power per Gigabyte required is 75+% lower than a repeated bus network.
  • Flexibility: The switched network supports memories of different sizes, speeds and types within the same system.

SC07 SuperComputing Coverage - Violin Memory

The topology developed for VXM is unique and based on 3-port switches in each of the Violin Intelligent Memory Modules (VIMMs). Each VIMM has a Violin Buffer (VB) device which both implements the 3-port switch and also provides local memory controller functions, which are specifically related to the type of memory being used (e.g. RAS/CAS refresh commands). The central memory controller provides higher level functions such as the mapping of logical address space to the specific physical VIMMs and memory devices.

Applications with large data sets and demanding performance requirements need solutions which provide either more memory or accelerate their storage I/O (Input/Output). Violin has addressed this need with Violin Switched Memory (VXM) technology, designed specifically for these applications. VXM scales memory systems both in capacity as well as performance. Violin's scalable memory products include:

Memory Appliances: These appliances integrate large amounts of DRAM and/or Flash into a high performing and robust system which supports Scalable Memory, High Performance Storage or both. The Violin 1010, shown below, is the first Memory Appliance.

Violin Intelligent Memory Modules (VIMMs): These intelligent memory modules contain memory as well as an intelligent controller with integrated VXM switch. The 6 GB DRAM module, shown below, is the first VIMM introduced.

SC07 SuperComputing Coverage - Violin Memory

About the company: Violin Memory, Inc.SC07 SuperComputing Coverage - Violin Memory

Violin Memory, Inc. is the leading innovator in scalable memory appliances and technology. With support for both DRAM and Flash, highly scalable capacity and extreme data reliability, Violin Memory products deliver outstanding performance for large dataset applications that demand very high IOPS and low latency. Founded in 2005, Violin Memory is headquartered in Iselin, New Jersey. For more information on Violin Memory products please contact Violin or call 1-888-984-6546.


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