Cloud storage service provider Nirvanix recently updated its 10 global data centers that make up the backbone of its Cloud Storage Network to include flash memory arrays from Violin Memory. According to Nirvanix, the addition of flash memory at the meta-data level has improved the performance of its public cloud by 10 to 15 times.

Nirvanix is positioning itself as a trendsetter with the usage of flash memory. Steve Zivanic, Nirvanix's vice president of Marketing, told Talkin' Cloud that with the performance gains on the meta-data level, other cloud providers will likely begin deploying flash memory in their data centers in time.

"I think that's something you're going to see in the industry. As people are moving to flash, you can say, 'Wait, I can change the software and increase the performance,'" Zivanic said.

Of course, that's the trick currently—that global file systems and file structures are written to use more traditional physical drives. Although HDDs won't be disappearing from data centers any time soon, Zivanic said he expects flash to play an increasingly important role in public clouds—and, in time, private clouds. Although Nirvanix implemented Violin's flash memory arrays into its public cloud, the company is also working with select customers of its private cloud services that want to get the better response times flash makes possible.

Nirvanix has been trying to make cloud storage as simple as possible in recent months. The company, along with fellow cloud storage service provider TwinStrata, unveiled a cloud storage starter kit at the end of August in part to compete with the Amazon Glacier. The company also added a Las Vegas-based Switch SuperNAP data center to its network of worldwide data centers.

In respect to flash memory in the cloud, Nirvanix said data backups have been reduced from months to weeks—at least with customers that back up hundreds of terabytes of data per week.

There's a big question mark over whether this will become a trend embraced by the cloud provider industry as a whole, but the performance gains aren't something to ignore. The implementation of software that uses flash memory instead of traditional physical HDDs, though, is something that will almost certainly make many providers skeptical.