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Sandisk buys Pliant to enter enterprise SSD market

Gears up for a big 2012
Tue May 17 2011, 10:37

STORAGE VENDOR Sandisk has announced that it will purchase solid state disk (SSD) drive maker Pliant Technology and start shipping SSDs pitched at enterprises.

Sandisk, which already has a flash memory manufacturing partnership with Toshiba, announced that it paid $327m in cash and certain equity-based assets for Pliant Technology, a firm that builds SSDs for enterprise customers. Pliant Technology already has a foothold in the enterprise storage market, upon which Sandisk hopes to build.

Sanjay Mehrotra, president and CEO of Sandisk said of the deal, "We believe that the combination of Pliant's innovative technology and enterprise-level system expertise with SanDisk's high-quality, large-scale MLC [multi level cell] memory production is a winning value proposition for customers. Our advanced flash technology roadmap and flash management capability will complement Pliant's strengths and allow us to lead the way in reliability and performance in the Enterprise SSD market."

Although Sandisk has an ongoing partnership with Toshiba and last month announced that it had managed to fabricate flash memory chips at a 19nm process node, it doesn't sell packaged drives to end-users. With various industry watchers saying that the SSD market is set to explode in the coming years, it is no surprise that Sandisk wants to get in before it's too late.

Curiously, while other SSD vendors tout single level cell flash memory for use in enterprise grade SSDs, Sandisk seems to have chosen the lower cost MLC route. However unlike most SSD drive vendors, Sandisk's tie-in with Toshiba means it can cherry pick the flash modules from its own manufacturing facility, which puts it in direct competition with industry heavyweights Intel and Samsung.

Sandisk did not say when it will start shipping drives, but given that the deal isn't expected to be completed before the second half of 2011, it might be a good few months before users get a chance to buy Sandisk SSDs. µ


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