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EMC Adds to Flash Management Tools, Buying ScaleIO

EMC Adds to Flash Management Tools, Buying ScaleIO
By Jennifer LeClaire

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"Certainly, flash is one of the faster growing segments of the storage industry. It's being used in more places and in larger systems," said analyst Zeus Kerravala. "Flash plays a big part of EMC staying on the leading edge of storage. Of course, managing and security of flash is also important. That's what ScaleIO does."
 

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EMC is on a mini-acquisition streak. After acquiring Aveska for its RSA division earlier this week, the company announced an agreement to buy a privately held server-side storage software firm. EMC will pay an undisclosed amount for ScaleIO.

EMC aims to strengthen its flash portfolio by merging ScaleIO's scalable server software with PCIe Flash cards, such as EMC XtremSF, in enterprise private cloud and server provider environments.

"Flash now permeates every layer of IT -- in virtualized and non-virtualized environments," said David Goulden, president and COO of EMC. "Enterprise workloads are diverse in nature, and EMC is committed to offering our customers and partners choice in their Flash deployments."

A Software-Only Approach

ScaleIO takes a software-only approach to creating a virtual pool of server-based storage by logically combining SSDs, PCIe Flash cards, HDDs -- or any combination of these devices. ScaleIO provides support for both virtualized and non-virtualized environments and scales from tens to thousands of servers.

Goulden called ScaleIO a natural extension of its portfolio: "It strengthens our product capabilities in the area of server-side storage and brings a world-class team that will undoubtedly enable us to innovate more quickly in the future."

When the deal closes, ScaleIO will operate within the EMC Flash Product Division. The company said ScaleIO and its Elastic Converged Storage software will become an integral part of the EMC XtremSW Suite. EMC introduced the XtremSW Suite earlier this year with the goal of enabling customers to better utilize and manage server-based PCIe Flash storage.

Flash Competition

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, told us he's not surprised to see EMC investing more in flash. The company has made acquisitions in this area in years past. This time, EMC is beefing up flash manageability.

"Certainly, flash is one of the faster growing segments of the storage industry. It's being used in more places and in larger systems," Kerravala said. "Flash plays a big part of EMC staying on the leading edge of storage. Of course, managing and security of flash is also important. That's what ScaleIO does."

The flash market is getting more competitive all the time. In April, IBM made a huge bet on the end of hard drives by announcing a $1 billion research initiative on the flash front. IBM rolled out a line of flash-based storage systems, known as FlashSystem, based on tech it scooped up when it acquired Texas Memory in 2012.

Marketwide, iSuppli predicts NAND flash revenue will reach $23.1 billion in 2013, up a stalwart 14 percent from $20.2 billion last year. Three of the four quarters in 2013 will each pull in revenue north of $5.6 billion, with only the second quarter turning in slightly lower results of $5.5 billion.
 

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