Will IBM’s Flash Memory Buy Be Good for Partners?
IBM (NYSE: IBM) wants in on solid state technology, a rapidly expanding market that doubled in size to $5 billion worldwide in 2011. The vendor is buying Texas Memory Systems (TMS), a privately held flash memory maker whose products, officials said, eventually will find their way into IBM’s PureSystems line and become a staple of its Smarter Storage portfolio.
TMS, founded in 1978, is best known for its RamSan flagship line of high-performance, solid state storage systems, including rackmount systems and PCIe cards. In the big picture, what does IBM want with TMS and why does it matter for channel partners? Here are the details:
The advantages of solid state technology — replacing physical drives with memory chips to read and write data — aren’t new, but what’s nudged the market forward is that previously prohibitive prices have come way down (IDC expects client solid state drive (SSD) prices to fall below $1 per Gigabyte later this year), and big names including EMC (NYSE: EMC), Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) and NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) now have a notable presence in the market. Indeed, solid state storage solutions shipped into the enterprise could reach 3EB by 2016, according to the researcher.
Now with the TMS acquisition IBM’s a serious SSD player, too, sporting plans to incorporate TMS’ products into not only its PureSystems platform but also other storage, server and software solutions. For sure, channel partners, signing up in significant numbers for PureSystems training, will be prime candidates to latch onto TMS’ technology for a viable value-add to enterprise and midmarket customers.
“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, IBM general manager, Systems Storage and Networking.
IBM will support TMS’ products already installed at customer sites and plans to invest in future development, said Holly Frost, TMS founder and chief executive.
“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,” Frost said. “With the global reach of IBM, we expect to grow the engineering staff and product lines much faster than we could before.”
The deal is expected to close later in 2012.