Last week, EMC bought XtremeIO (an israeli Startup developing a 100% scale-out SSD storage, here a link to their website) for 420M$. This acquisition, less important than many others in EMC history (at least in terms of dollars), gave me the spin to write this post.

SSD arrays are getting traction

Well, this acquisition gives us the final proof that there is a lot of interest about SSD Arrays. Flash Arrays (Flash only) are a new market segment under the spotlight of end users and primary vendors. We often write about SSD storage startups and there are a lot of juicy things that are coming up.

Ordinary arrays aren’t good enough

Also EMC tried to fill up their traditional arrays with SSDs but with scarce results. It’s obvious, they are faster than the same array filled with mechanical HDs but, at the same time, we can state that the price/performance ratio is extremely bad.
Actually, SSDs can be efficiently used into traditional arrays, but in small amounts: used for caching purposes or as part of automated multi tier solutions.

Next acquisitions round will be on SSDs

It isn’t hard to predict it: actually, there aren’t primary vendors capable of delivering a full fledged SSD solution right now! We will see an acquisitions round that involves many of the small startups that we covered in previous months.
I would only add that I’m not sure if this round will begin immediately: In many cases, these startups don’t have a reference customer or a credible installed base useful to understand how their products truly work in real life. Also on the EMC side, they moved fast but the XtremIO product isn’t ready for shipment yet, it’s probable that we will see it officially available in a bunch of months…
Furthermore, there are more than a couple of solutions out there, so there is time and options to evaluate before placing a bet!

Bottom line

EMC has done well by staying a step ahead of competition, this has put them in a good position. The truth of the matter is that they bought a company without customers and without a sellable product. But I’m sure that they made this move in order to secure the technology and the intellectual property more than for the product itself: it will be very easy to integrate such a small engineering team with the rest of the company.
if I’m being picky, my last thought goes out to project thunder: did it ever exist? who knows, only time (or the next EMC world) will tell.