SanDisk acquisition broadens enterprise flash storage

Flash card maker SanDisk Corp. has been quietly moving into enterprise flash storage for some time.

Last week it accelerated that move by striking a US$1.1 billion deal to buy publicly-traded Fusion-io (NYSE: FIO), a developer of flash-based PCIe hardware and software solutions.

“Fusion-io will accelerate our efforts to enable the flash-transformed data center, helping companies better manage increasingly heavy data workloads at a lower total cost of ownership,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk president and CEO.  “Customers will benefit from the addition of Fusion-io’s leading PCIe solutions to SanDisk’s vertically integrated business model.  We look forward to working with the world-class engineering and go-to-market teams from Fusion-io to provide high-value solutions to customers around the world.”

SanDisk hopes the deal will close in the third quarter.

Fusion-io products include the ioControl Hybrid Storage appliance an the ioN all-flash Accelerator.

It part of a wave of acquisitions, noted a column from financial analyst firm for Forbes, that includes Western Digital’s purchase of Virident last year and Seagate Technology’s purchase from Avago Technologies of two flash divisions.

That left Fusion-io potentially playing against bigger companies, which made its stock drop — and made it an acquisition target.

Though Fusion-io has more than doubled its revenues from its fiscal 2011 to 2013, Trefis notes, it suffered a net loss in two of these three years.

Fusion-io will get a broader channel for selling its products, while SanDisk will be able to sell more memory once Fusion-io ditches its contract with Samsung Electronics.

In a separate column John Webster notes that Fusion-io has some interesting enterprise software covering compression, virtual machine file sharing and the ability to simultaneously write multiple, non-contiguous storage blocks to flash as a single transaction.

“It is likely that SanDisk will now deliver these software-based enhancements in current and future flash product offerings that include server-side flash (Atomic Series for example) and flash-based storage appliances (ioN Accelerator),” he writes. “These will be targeted at enterprise application acceleration opportunities like MySQL, SAPHANA, Hadoop HBase, mongoDB and others as well as VMware and VDI environments to further address server sprawl. One can also expect to see SanDisk express its advancement in NAND Flash technology including 3D NAND in future Fusion-io solutions.”

Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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