IBM acquires Texas Memory Systems

IBM buys flash storage specialist Texas Memory Systems for an undisclosed sum and promises to invest in further product development

IBM has announced it is buying Texas Memory Systems (TMS) for an undisclosed sum.

Texas Memory Systems (TMS) was founded in 1978 and has become one of the most prolific suppliers in the flash storage market, specialising in its RamSan range of rack-mounted SSDs and PCIe cards.

Now IBM will integrate TMS's technology into its own server and storage ranges.

“The TMS strategy and solution set align well with our smarter computing approach to information technology, by helping clients realise increased performance and efficiencies at lower costs,” said Brian Truskowski, general manager of systems storage and networking at IBM.

“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.”

IBM has promised to invest in TMS to continue to build the products. However, when Computer Weekly spoke to Erik Eyberg, senior analyst at TMS, he would not confirm what would happen to the company name or whether its employees would be kept on board.

“We are looking at several avenues in the integration progress,” Eyberg said, “but we cannot comment on it at this time.”

Eyberg was keen to highlight the endorsement of SSD technology represented by the deal.

“The I/O bottleneck has been holding back computing for years and hard disks are not getting any faster,” Eyberg said.

“This deal is a huge validation of the technology and the potential it has to change the industry.”

Simon Robinson, principal analyst at The 451 Group, agreed on the validation aspect of SSD, claiming it was a “white hot technology that is transforming storage.”

“The deal comes hot on the heels of similar moves from other players, most notably EMC with XtremIO,” Robinson told Computer Weekly. 

“The obvious difference between the two is that XtremIO was a very young company without a general availability product, while TMS is almost 35 years old.”

However, Robinson thinks the older company is a better fit for IBM, adding: “It has a broader set of SSD products that can reside in both the host and as a shared storage system.

“SSD ultimately is going to reside in all levels of the stack so all systems and storage players are going to have to make organic and inorganic investments here. IBM now has its hands on this industry's most venerable player.”  

IBM already partners with other SSD companies, including Fusion IO. However, the company claimed TMS would “complement IBM’s current portfolio”, rather than replace it.

The deal is expected to complete by the end of 2012.

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