Western Digital Acquires Embedded SSD Maker for $65M

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2009-03-30 Print this article Print

SiliconSystems' SiliconDrive products are used in network communications, industrial, embedded computing, medical, military and aerospace markets. The acquisition is expected to greatly boost WD's know-how and IP in the area of solid-state drives, analysts say.

Western Digital, the second-largest hard disk drive maker in the world behind Seagate Technology, said March 30 it had acquired neighboring SiliconSystems for $65 million in cash.

WD is located in Lake Forest, Calif., only a few miles from SiliconSystems' headquarters in Aliso Viejo, Calif.

founded in 2002, is a major supplier of embedded SSDs (solid-state drives), and its SiliconDrive products are used in the network communications, industrial, embedded computing, medical, military and aerospace markets. These markets accounted for approximately one-third of worldwide SSD revenues in 2008, the company said.

For a look at the latest wave of SSD offerings, click here.

SiliconSystems' product portfolio includes solid-state drives with SATA (Serial ATA), EIDE, PC Card, USB and CF interfaces in 2.5-inch, 1.8-inch, CF and other form factors.

Integration into WD begins immediately, with SiliconSystems becoming the WD Solid-State Storage business unit..

Western Digital toyed with the idea of buying Fujitsu's spinning disk drive business in 2008 but didn't, due to the decline of the dollar compared with the yen. Toshiba then stepped in and acquired the Fujitsu hard drive division.

That's apparently when WD decided to invest in SSDs.

"WD is no stranger to SSDs, having dabbled in the technology in the early 1990s and being a founding investor of SanDisk, which also developed flash-based SSDs in the same time period," said Gregory Wong, an analyst with Forward Insights.

"However, it appears that early experience wasn't enough for a latecomer to catch up to the vast improvements in performance and reliability made by SSD vendors recently. System-level solutions, particularly on the firmware side, are required to manage the increasing complexities of NAND flash with each new technology generation."

WD will now be able to leverage SiliconSystems' know-how and IP to accelerate its SSD development, Wong said.

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 Salesforce.com 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 DevX.com 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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