EMC Acquires Flash Storage Startup DSSD

Posted on May 06, 2014 By Pedro Hernandez

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Amid the many announcements and goings-on at the company's EMC World 2014 conference in Las Vegas, EMC announced that it is acquiring DSSD, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based flash storage startup, for an undisclosed amount. The companies expect the deal to close during the current second quarter.

DSSD has developed "an innovative new rack-scale flash storage tier" that is aimed at databases and Big Data workloads, including the popular Hadoop platform and SAP's in-memory HANA technology, according to Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC. Revealing the company's high-end ambitions for the storage tech, EMC said that when DSSD-powered systems ship in 2015, they will be optimized for real-time analytics applications, including risk management and fraud detection. On the high-performance computing (HPC) front, EMC is targeting research and government agencies that delve into resource-intense fields like genomics, facial recognition and climate analysis.

The stealthy startup is headed by president and CEO Bill Moore, the former Chief Storage Engineer and Sun Microsystems and ZFS co-lead. DSSD will fall under EMC's Emerging Technology Products Division, which reports to Chirantan "C.J." Desai, the division's president.

As an early investor, EMC has a history with DSSD, according to David Goulden, CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure. In prepared remarks, he noted that EMC and DSSD partnered over a year ago and that his corporation led a Series A round of financing for the startup.

"Complementary to our market-leading all-flash and hybrid storage portfolio, DSSD will unlock an abundance of new possibilities for customers as they build out their infrastructures to support the emerging tier of next-generation in-memory and Big Data workloads," said Goulden in a statement.

EMC's approach to enterprise flash storage is paying off, the company asserts. During the first quarter of 2014, EMC has shipped over 17 petabytes (PB) of flash capacity, a 70 percent year-over-year increase.

Enterprises are clearly warming to flash-enabled storage arrays. "More than 70 percent of all EMC VMAX and EMC VNX2 systems now ship with flash capacity," boasted EMC.

One flash storage pure play isn't convinced that EMC will be able to leverage the stealth-mode startup's server-centric flash innovations and lead a transformation in data center storage that benefits all types of businesses. Matt Kixmoeller, vice president of product for Pure Storage, said in an email to InfoStor that "once again they are missing the mark."

"The largest market opportunity for flash is to drive cost-effective, high performance, scalable and reliable mainstream all-flash solutions for organizations of all sizes to replace outdated disk storage systems - not to strive for even more exotic levels of performance for the one percent of the highest-performance workloads," stated Kixmoeller. "While the acquisition might make sense for EMC's long-term future, it does not address the larger market opportunity that we're really excited about today."

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InfoStor. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


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