SanDisk Makes $300M SMART SSD Buy

By Pedro Hernandez

Consolidation has hit the enterprise solid state drive (SSD) market.

Flash storage firm SanDisk announced today that is acquiring SMART Storage Systems in a deal valued at approximately $307 million. SMART Storage Systems operates as the enterprise solid-state drive provider under its parent company, SMART Worldwide Holdings.

The move arrives a week after Western Digital's play for sTec, a maker enterprise SSDs and flash-based storage systems.

On June 24, the hard drive company announced that it was spending $340 million, or $6.85 per share, to acquire the Santa Ana, Calif.-based sTec through its subsidiary HGST, formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. When it comes to enterprise storage market, the writing is on the wall, according to Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan. "This acquisition is one more building block in our strategy to capitalize on the dramatic changes within the storage industry by investing in SSDs and other high-growth storage products," he said in press remarks.

Newark, Calif.-based SMART Storage Systems, on the other hand, specializes purely in SATA and SAS SSDs for enterprise, industrial and defense applications. The company's portfolio includes the CloudSpeed, Optimus, Xceed and Xcel product lines.

In April, the SMART firm claimed the distinction of being the first to offer a 19 nanometer SAS SSD, the Optimus Eco. Available in capacities of up to 2 TB and offering random read and write speeds of 100K and 45K IOPS respectively, the Optimus Eco is suitable for "wide variety of enterprise applications, including the custom built hyper-scale architectures," boasts the company. Optimus Eco 2 TB drives cost $3,999 (OEM pricing).

The company's enterprise SATA lineup includes the 2.5-inch, MLC-based CloudSpeed 1000 SSDs. With capacities that can reach up to 960 GB, CloudSpeed models are rated to deliver sequential read speeds of 450 MBps and write speeds of 350 MBps.

SMART's focus on data center storage is what prompted SanDisk to make the buy.

"This acquisition enables SanDisk to address a $1.6 billion market opportunity in enterprise SATA products, and complements our strong enterprise SAS product portfolio. With this combination, SanDisk will have products qualified with six of the top seven storage OEMs worldwide," said SanDisk's Sumit Sadana, executive vice president and chief strategy officer for the company.

The companies expect the deal to close in August upon clearing customary approvals. SMART Storage Systems' 250 employees are expected to join SanDisk.

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

This article was originally published on July 02, 2013