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

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2011-06-09
 
 
 

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.

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