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All-flash storage array vendor Violin Memory has launched the Windows Flash Array (WFA), a sold-state storage solution designed specifically for deployments with enterprise software by Microsoft. Violin developed the solution together with the Redmond, Washington, software giant.


The array's hardware and software are tightly integrated with Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 and enables enterprise and cloud workloads, such as SQL Server, Microsoft SharePoint and Windows® Server with Hyper-V-virtualized applications.


IDC analyst Eric Burgener said application acceleration capabilities of all-flash arrays had enabled them to capture the “highest tier” in enterprise storage. “Bringing together these established benefits found in the 64TB Violin Memory All-Flash Array with Windows Storage Server 2012 R2, Microsoft and Violin have created a certified solution to improve the performance of Hyper-V, SQL server and SharePoint environments.”


Microsoft corporate VP Bill Laing said, “By jointly developing this highly integrated solution with Violin Memory, we are working together to provide enterprise and cloud customers with dramatically improved performance, scalability, and economics for their Windows applications — virtualized, physical and cloud.”


The solution's storage-optimization features include thin provisioning, data deduplication, scalability and encryption, along with snapshots and continuous availability through Windows failover clustering.


Microsoft's latest Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 provides a new way to connect external storage, making it perform like fast local storage. The Server Message Block (SMB) Direct protocol, enabled by remote direct memory access (RDMA), makes possible an enterprise-class storage alternative to traditional SANs.


Microsoft has certified the WFA as a supported system for Windows Server 2012 R2.