One of the first providers to deliver on a commitment Microsoft made to optimize the Windows Server 2012 platform for Flash memory is Violin Memory.
Today the provider of Flash memory cards, appliances and arrays announced that Windows Server 2012 applications that make use of persistent Flash storage provided by Violin Memory can now run three to four times faster than when they rely solely on magnetic storage.
According to Narayan Venkat, vice president of products for Violin Memory, Microsoft is enabling that to occur by rewriting lower parts of the Windows Server 2012 kernel to optimize it for Flash memory, and Violin Memory has rewritten parts of the operating system it relies on to manage its Flash memory products to optimize data paths for the latest update to Microsoft Server 2012.
Native support for Flash memory that serves to improve the performance of Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines is a critical component of Microsoft’s campaign to unseat VMware. By being able to deliver a faster virtual machine environment, Microsoft will make a stronger case for using its free virtual machine software as the foundation for production applications. In addition, Venkat notes that support for Flash memory is also being extended to the Microsoft Azure platform, which is competing against rival cloud computing platforms that are based on all Flash arrays.
Native support for Flash memory within Microsoft Windows Server 2012 that will be supported by a host of Flash storage vendors is a major step forward toward the mainstream adoption of Flash memory. As the cost of Flash memory continues to fall, storage administrators are coming under more pressure to add another tier of primary storage to boost application performance by orders of magnitude. By optimizing Windows Server 2012 for Flash memory, Microsoft is fundamentally changing the economics of Flash storage as a shared resource, while making it easier to manage within the context of the overall Windows environment. For its part, Violin Memory recently unveiled Maestro software that makes it simpler to automatically tier data across both Flash and magnetic storage systems.
The end result should be a lot more Flash memory being deployed across Windows server environments in a way that makes the entire data center environment not only more efficient, but ultimately a whole lot smaller and energy efficient.