NAND Flash Drive Maker Fusion-io Goes Public, Gets $1.8B Valuation

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-06-09 Print this article Print

The new stock was first priced at $19, and it eventually closed at $22.50, a 24 percent increase in one day.

Fusion-io, one of the more innovative users of NAND flash for enterprise data centers, staged its initial public offering June 9 and did very well in its first day on the New York Stock Exchange.

Fusion-io (NYSE: FIO), probably best known for hiring Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as its chief scientist, originally had expected to price its shares at $13 to $15, which was later upped to $16 to $18. The stock eventually was priced at $19, and it closed at $22.50, a 24 percent increase, in one day. It was selling at slightly below that price in after-hours trading.

Thanks partially to an endorsement from Facebook, which uses the company's fast storage arrays in its data centers, Fusion-io ended up with a market value of about $1.8 billion on its first day as a public company.

Fusion-io's ioDrive is the first direct-attached, solid-state server storage array that uses PCI-Express, or PCIe, connectivity. The ioDrive is small-barely larger than a typical handheld device-that uses advanced NAND flash chip clustering to perform the same functions as a spinning disk storage array, only with much faster read/write performance and much less power draw.

Most IT shops, if they use NAND flash, utilize it in purpose-built solid-state drives. Fusion-io's angle is that its units plug into the same sockets as hard disk drives and are much faster.

For example, the company claims ioDrive is capable of 120,000 random read/write IOPS-about 100 times faster than a typical Serial ATA drive.

PCIe was introduced by Intel in 2004. It is a computer-expansion card standard based on point-to-point serial links, rather than a shared parallel bus architecture, and is designed to replace the older PCI, PCI-X and AGP standards.

Fusion-io has been busy creating other products during its five years in operation. Last year, the company came out with a new NAND flash-optimized OS subsystem called the ioMemory VSL (Virtual Storage Layer) for better utilization of NAND flash memory and storage arrays.

Wozniak has served as a key technical adviser to the Fusion-io research and development group since February 2009.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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