Western Digital Snaps up Flash Storage Startup Skyera

By Pedro Hernandez

Western Digital and its enterprise data storage subsidiary, HGST, announced today that it had acquired Skyera in an all-cash transaction. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It's not the first time that the companies' paths have crossed. Last year, Skyera, a San Jose, Calif.-based maker of all-flash storage systems, announced that Western Digital had invested $51 million into the startup.

"We see companies like Skyera as offering a dramatic improvement over traditional approaches to emerging storage challenges," said Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan at the time. "We will continue to support innovation by collaborating with customers and partners, and investing in companies who are addressing today's most exciting storage opportunities."

Skyera's strategy hinges on narrowing the gap between solid-state drive (SSD) storage and traditional disk-based arrays. Its skyHawk arrays leverage proprietary algorithms, purpose-built controllers and other innovations developed by the company to generate enterprise-grade performance from consumer MLC flash chips.

In October, Skyera launched its second-generation arrays, dubbed skyHawk FS. The unified SAN and NAS system provide up to 136 TB of raw flash storage capacity (100 TB usable) in a 1U chassis.

SkyHawk FS, also available in capacities of available in 16 TB, 32 TB and 68 TB, is "the densest solution on the market," claimed the company. SkyHawk FS consumes up to 97 percent less power and occupies 99 percent less space than competing systems, according to estimates.

The company estimates that SkyHawk FS consumes as much 97 percent less power and takes up 99 percent less space than competing enterprise disk systems. Its underlying software foundation, Skyera Storage Operating System (SeOS), streamlines storage management and provides optimizations that cuts the number of arrays required, cutting operating expenditures by up to 90 percent.

Now, Skyera will add to HGST's vision of the flash-enabled data center.

The deal will allow HGST, itself a Western Digital acquisition, "to broaden its scope of innovation to capture new and growing opportunities in data center storage infrastructure," said the company in a statement. "The acquisition brings engineering talent and intellectual property that will further strengthen HGST's technical expertise and resources."

Acquiring Skyera "supports our strategic growth objectives and plans to deliver long-term value to customers, shareholders and employees," said Milligan in a statement. HGST's president, Mike Cordano described flash-based solutions as "a large, exciting growth area for HGST" in prepared remarks.

"By combining Skyera's innovative flash platform with HGST's leading solid-state storage solutions and flash virtualization software we plan to provide breakthrough value and capabilities to help customers transform their cloud and enterprise data center infrastructure," stated Cordano.

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

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

This article was originally published on December 15, 2014