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Violin Memory executives see the company’s new global partner program as a key step in its effort to broaden the appeal of its all-flash arrays.

Although Violin Memory gained initial traction in the enterprise market, it is now looking more to the channel to extend its reach into small and midsize enterprises following the recent introduction of the Violin Flash Storage Platform, which is priced equivalent to a high-end magnetic storage system, said Jeff Nollette, worldwide vice president of channel sales for Violin Memory.

“We’ve made a much [more] friendly product for the channel,” said Nollette. “We’re now going well beyond a Fortune 500 kind of company play.”

Similar to most channel partner programs, the Violin Memory program is tiered across multiple levels to provide better incentives and access to market development funds (MDFs) based on the volume of sales and certifications attained. Violin Memory is looking for partners that understand the nuances of I/O performance, Nollette said

With street pricing for all-flash arrays between $1.50 and $2 per GB for systems that provide high performance I/O, in the months ahead it’s clear that more all-flash arrays will be replacing high-end magnetic storage in a much broader set of application scenarios, Nollette said. That shift creates an opportunity for solution providers that have storage expertise to sell all-flash arrays that not only cost about the same as magnetic storage systems, but that are much easier to manage from an I/O optimization perspective, Nollette said.

Thanks to the ability to count Toshiba as an investor in Violin Memory, Nollette said the provider of all-flash storage arrays expects to be able to leverage Toshiba’s flash memory manufacturing muscle to stay competitive from a pricing perspective while still being able to protect partner profit margins.

Violin Memory, which got its start selling flash memory cards on servers, has clearly gone through a few transformations in business models that have disrupted its revenue flow in a way that led it to rack up some recent losses. Given the fact that a shift to all-flash arrays is just getting under way, the company is clearly hoping that most of those missteps will soon be viewed as ancient history.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.