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IBM has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Texas Memory Systems (TMS), a leading developer of high-performance flash memory solutions. Analysts believe that IBM’s Texas Memory Systems buy indicates flash storage will play a prominent role in meeting customer demand for efficient and effective data centers.

TMS, which was founded in 1978, designs and sells high-performance solid state storage solutions. Texas Memory Systems offers its solid state solutions based on NAND flash and RAM memory as the RamSan family of shared rackmount systems and PCI Express cards. The products are designed to help companies improve performance and reduce server sprawl, power consumption, cooling, and floor space requirements, all of which in turn can help clients save money, improve performance and invest more in innovation.

IBM Boosts Its Solid-State Storage Portfolio with TMS Buy

“The TMS strategy and solution set align well with our 'smarter computing' approach to information technology by helping clients realize increased performance and efficiencies at lower costs. Solid-state technology, in particular, is a critical component of our new smarter storage approach to the design and deployment of storage infrastructures, and part of a holistic approach that exploits flash in conjunction with disk and tape technologies to solve complex problems,” said Brian Truskowski, general manager of systems storage and networking at IBM.

Following acquisition close, IBM plans to invest in and support the TMS product portfolio, and will look to integrate over time TMS technologies into a variety of solutions including storage, servers, software, and PureSystems offerings.

"IBM will gain a significant flash storage technical boost with TMS and integrate the technologies across its hardware and software portfolios to further solidify IBM’s reduced TCO, high-ROI messages with faster performance, greater efficiency and improved reliability. Most significantly, IBM will integrate the technology into its PureFlex and PureApplications offerings for truly end-to-end systems differentiated in part by integrated flash technologies to better manage and derive greater business insight from data," said Krista Macomber, an analyst of computing and storage practice at Technology Business Research.

Solid-State Storage Gaining Importance

Flash storage technologies are maturing and becoming more prominent in customers’ data centers, which leads to market consolidation as major data center vendors (including EMC with its May 2012 XtremIO buy and now IBM with its purchase of TMS) begin to acquire flash storage providers for enhanced capabilities. According to TBR, TMS is a perfect fit for IBM as both companies concentrate on industry-specific solutions.

"TMS and IBM have portfolio, customer base and go-to-market synergies that IBM will leverage to accelerate broader campaigns such as smarter computing and smarter storage. Specifically, TMS’ concept of vertically integrated flash storage systems complements IBM’s own industry-specific, workload-optimized approach. TMS technologies will be leveraged to enhance IBM’s value-add proposition, enabling IBM to deliver improved business value to customers in key industries such as financial services, e-commerce, HPC and telecom," said Ms. Macomber.

IDC estimates the amount of solid state storage solutions being shipped into the enterprise will grow significantly, reaching nearly 3EB by 2016.

“IBM understands the positive and dramatic impact that solid state technology can have on storage and server infrastructures, and once the acquisition is complete we look forward to advancing the technology even further. With the global reach of IBM, we expect to grow the engineering staff and product lines much faster than we could before,” said Holly Frost, founder and chief executive officer of TMS.

TMS employs approximately 100 people. The deal is expected to close later in 2012. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Tags: IBM, Texas Memory Systems, SSD, NAND, Flash

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