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Violin still searching for right notes

The red hot all-flash array remains ice cold for Violin Memory.

Violin reported revenue of $12.1 million for last quarter. That was down 33.3 percent from last year and 41 percent from last quarter, and well below the vendor’s previous forecast of from $21 million to $24 million. Violin lost $26.5 million for the quarter, which was actually an improvement over the $46.8 million loss from the previous quarter.

“Our first quarter results fell far short of our prior guidance and expectations as Violin continued to manage through the short-term effects of transitioning our customer base to our new flash storage platform,” Violin CEO Kevin DeNuccio said during the vendor’s earnings conference call.

Violin’s numbers look especially paltry when you consider EMC executives claim their XtremIO all-flash system is on track to exceed $1 billion in revenue for 2015.

DeNuccio blamed poor sales on a transition to Violin’s new 7300 and 7700 Flash Storage Platform (FSP) arrays, which include storage services that were missing from its old 6000 Series. He said those features – particularly inline deduplication and compression – are required to compete with market leaders EMC and Pure Storage.

DeNuccio predicts Violin will get a significant chunk of what he expects will become a $15 billion annual market for flash in primary storage after people get a good look at the FSP arrays. He said Violin has already brought in $11 million in revenue in May to kick off the current quarter, mainly from deals that did not close by the end of last quarter.

Still, Violin forecasted only from $16 million to $20 million in revenue this quarter.

“We think the quarter outlook is still strong, but after missing two quarters in a row, we are being very cautious in the kind of guidance that we give,” he said.

He said a product transition is a significant drag on a “one-product company.” But he claimed Violin’s one product is in the right segment to ride a coming wave. DeNuccio claimed the all-flash array market is reaching a “tipping point” as customers are ready to move completely off hard disk drives for primary storage.

“We are seeing early adopters that no longer want to purchase additional disk or hybrid arrays going forward and they recognize the transformational advantages of an all-flash storage infrastructure with enterprise data services that Violin can now deliver,” he said.

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