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By | Chris Mellor 16th June 2010 14:29

Violin Memory gobbles up Gear6

Flash NAS on the way then?

Violin Memory, which makes network-attached flash memory arrays, has bought Gear6, a web and NFS caching technology company. We might see a flash NAS as a result.

Gear6 is a four-year-old startup that supplied Memcached software and also NFS caching. The former is an open source, distributed memory caching system that stores objects and data from a database on a storage array in DRAM.

Users of memcached, but not Gear6 customers, include Wikipedia, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter. They provide faster response to users by reducing disk lookups for data. Gear6 had about 30 customers for its product.

It also has NFS caching technology, although this features very little on its website.

Gear6 fell on hard times, and a liquidation filing was reported in late April. Now Violin Memory has bought its technology assets, saying: "The venture funded Gear6 portfolio includes over 30 customers and multiple patents related to NFS Caching and Memcached."

Don Basile, Violin's CEO, said: "Gear6’s proven high speed NFS caching combined with the Violin 3000 10 Terabyte Memory Array will allow us to front-end NFS installations solving the performance issues of today’s NAS devices."

Here is a response to Avere's FXT 2000 filer accelerators with their tiered approach of storing data in DRAM, Flash, SAS disk and back-end bulk network-attached storage (NAS) filers, also to Symantec's FileStore. The Solid Access flash NAS product will also face competition.

Imagine a 10TB Violin 3000 in front of some NAS filers and you have a massively powerful cache that should far and away outperform cache in the NAS controllers. There is an obvious opportunity for Violin with the Memcached technology as well.

Are more acquisitions coming? Basile said: "We will continue to pursue scaling our company via acquisition when it aligns with our corporate strategy.”

Violin is working with the employees and customers of Gear6 to arrange continuing support. It's not known how many of Gear6's staff will move across to Violin.

Gear6 raised around $24m of venture capital funding during its four-year life, and the asset purchase price wasn't revealed. Our estimate is that it is in the single digit million dollar area and the venture capitalists have lost a boatload of money. ®

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