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August 16, 2012

IBM gets flashy with latest acquisition

Big Blue makes move for Texas Memory Solutions; will integrate with PureSystems line

By Steve Evans

Big spending IBM has purchased another company by agreeing to acquire flash memory vendor Texas Memory Solutions (TMS). Financial details of the deal were not revealed.

IBM said TMS technology will be plugged into a wide variety of its products, from storage, servers and software to its recently announced PureSystems line, which is a combination of the aforementioned technologies in a single box. It represents IBM’s first big foray into the solid state storage space.

The company’s products include the RamSan family of shared rackmount systems as well as Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) cards.

"The TMS strategy and solution set align well with our Smarter Computing approach to information technology by helping clients realise increased performance and efficiencies at lower costs," said Brian Truskowski, general manager, Systems Storage and Networking, IBM.

"Solid state technology, in particular, is a critical component of our new Smarter Storage approach to the design and deployment of storage infrastructures, and part of a holistic approach that exploits flash in conjunction with disk and tape technologies to solve complex problems," he added.

Texas Memory Solutions has existing partnerships with some of the industry’s biggest names, including Dell, Cisco, HP, Microsoft and Oracle. It remains to be seen what will happen to those relationships.

TMS was founded way back in 1978 and currently employs around 100 people. It is headquartered in Houston, Texas. It offers high performance solid state storage, which does not rely on spinning parts. This means they can perform much faster and use less energy.

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Other players in the space include Whiptail, Kove, Violin Memory and Fusion-io. Speaking to CBR earlier this year, Brian Feller, WhipTail’s VP and general manager EMEA, said flash memory is gaining traction because of the performance improvements it can offer over hard disk drives.

"Enterprises are at a critical juncture. IT budgets have been flat or down for several years, yet the biggest spend continues to be the application set that is less than 10% of the data centre. So the discussion for these applications that require significantly more performance than traditional storage can offer has turned to ‘what is my cost-per-IO’ from cost-per-gig," he said.

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