Fusion-io Buys ID7

Enterprise flash vendor Fusion-io has acquired software-defined storage provider (and Fusion-io partner) ID7 for an undisclosed amount.

The company also said that it had picked up the teams behind the commonly used SCST SCSI target subsystem for Linux, of which ID7 is the primary developer. ID7 has been collaborating with Fusion-io on software development for the Fusion-io ION Data Accelerator software.

With EMC gobbling up more and more of the external disk storage market, it’s imperative that companies such as Fusion-io maintain any sort of advantage in a segment of the market dominated by enterprise flash. Last week, Western Digital spent $51 million in financing for Skyera, a manufacturer of enterprise SSDs, in a bid to further diversify itself away from disk-based storage. As flash gains traction in the marketplace, traditional disk-based storage is finding it’s either being replaced or pushed into a less significant role.

EMC took aim at Fusion-io last week, claiming in a presentation that “Brand F” generated half the IOPS with twice the latency of its XtremSF flash cards—at roughly half the price, too. Both EMC and Fusion-io are doing well in the marketplace, with EMC reporting record profits for the fourth quarter and Fusion-io edging into profitability. Fusion-io’s revenue growth was 43 percent, however, while the much larger EMC’s growth was 8 percent.

With the ID7 acquisition, Fusion-io will pick up both general and specific software expertise. While ID7 develops storage software for iSCSI, Fibre Channel and Infiniband, SCST was originally designed for both SCSI and Linux. That represents one of the smaller parts of what IDC calls the Open SAN market, which consists of FC SAN, FCoE, iSCSI, and others. (About $3.2 billion of iSCSI storage arrays were sold in 2012, IDC said, according to private figures cited by EMC marketing CTO Chuck Hollis.)

Since SCST’s initial development, Fibre Channel and iSCSI support have been added, as well as support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet. And SCST supplies quite a bit: replication, thin provisioning, de-duplication, high availability, and automatic backup on any Linux server or appliance. (For more on building an SSD disk array over Fibre Channel using SCST, see Marc A. Smith’s blog post on the subject.)

Fusion-io said it would continue to maintain the open-source version of SCST, as well as contribute to the open-source distribution as it continues development. The ID7 team, including the primary SCST developers, will join Fusion-io but work from their current locations.


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