Pliant, a rising developer of high-end enterprise solid-state drives, will become SanDisk's enterprise NAND flash division.
known for its little blue NAND flash memory cards used in digital cameras and
phones and for thumb drive-type storage devices, has decided to move full
throttle into the branded enterprise solid-state storage sector.
SanDisk on May 16 announced
that it will acquire Pliant
, a rising developer of high-end enterprise solid-state drives,
for $327 million in cash. Pliant will then become SanDisk's enterprise NAND
flash division. The transaction is expected to close in the next three months.
The acquisition is yet
another indication that NAND flash storage is gaining gravitas in the overall
data-storage industry. Enterprise providers such as EMC, NetApp, Dell, IBM,
Samsung, Hitachi, Toshiba, Hewlett-Packard and a spate of startups have
invested large amounts of time and money into developing and selling NAND
flash-based storage devices.
"This acquisition is
good for everyone-SanDisk, Pliant and all their customers," Pliant Vice President
of Marketing Greg Goelz told eWEEK. "SanDisk already has a large
enterprise OEM footprint, so that will allow Pliant quick access to those
markets. This will allow us to scale our business greatly."
SanDisk's last acquisition
Israel's M-Systems for $1.5 billion in stock in 2006
. M-Systems develops
next-generation flash-enabled consumer applications for handsets.
Pliant Founded by Industry Veterans
by a group of storage veterans from Maxtor, Quantum, Fujitsu,
IBM and several other companies, OEMs high-end, enterprise-class solid-state
storage devices. In September 2010, the company announced
the expansion of its Lightning product line
with two new MLC (multi-level
cell) NAND flash storage devices.
The Pliant Lightning LB 200M
and Lightning LB 400M flash drives are based on an advanced controller design
and software architecture that offer improvements in I/O performance and in
lower energy consumption than current SSDs, the company said.
Pliant Lightning LB MLC
NAND-based products come in a 2.5-inch form factor in capacities from 200GB to
400GB. They feature a SAS (serial-attached SCSI) interface that integrates into
existing SAS enterprise storage and server systems, without requiring
modifications to existing applications, operating systems or infrastructure,
the company said.
They also feature high
sustained performance with IOPS (input/output per second) of >10K (LB 400M)
and >8K (LB 200M) for 4KB 70/30 read/write with low response times.
"Flash memory is making
significant inroads into the enterprise by dramatically increasing application
performance and reducing power consumption," said SanDisk President and
CEO Sanjay Mehrotra. "We believe that the combination of Pliant's
technology and enterprise-level system expertise with SanDisk's high-quality,
large-scale MLC memory production is a winning value proposition for customers."
"The Enterprise SSD
market is poised for considerable growth, with revenue projected to reach $4.2
billion in 2015, up from $994 million in 2010," according to Joseph
Unsworth, research director at Gartner. "This trajectory is fueled by the
expanding use of MLC NAND technology, which will require extensive flash-management
expertise to ensure successful adoption in enterprise applications."