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Western Digital Acquires NVMe-oF Startup Kazan

With the acquisition of Kazan Networks, Western Digital gets access to the startup developer of one of the industry's highest-performance NVMe-oF technologies thanks to Kazan's all-hardware design.

Western Digital Tuesday said it acquired Kazan Networks, a developer of NVMe-over-Fabric, or NVMe-oF, ASICs and adapters used in building high-performance data center storage systems.  

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, and Western Digital spokespeople did not respond to a CRN request for more information by press time.

Roseville, Calif.-based Kazan Networks is a privately-held startup developer of technology related to NVMe-oF, a way to pool flash storage in such a way as to allow those pools to scale independently of compute resources. This allows servers to access flash storage inside their own chassis as well as outside the chassis and rack in a data center or remote data center.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Western Digital President, COO Cordano On Importance Of Investing In Hard-Drive, Flash Technology]

This allows maximum use of flash storage capacity, as capacity that is not needed by one server is available for use by other servers.

Kazan Networks claims its NVMe-oF technology is unique in that has implemented the entire I/O path in hardware rather than a combination of hardware and firmware, which the company said results in the lowest possible latency.

Kazan claims that its Fuji ASIC can push over 2.8 million I/Os per second through an NVMe-OF infrastructure, or 11.8 GBs per second of bandwidth through a single 100-Gbit-per-second Ethernet connection. Latency is as low as 430 nanoseconds, which the company says makes the flash storage capacity available with no latency penalty when that capacity is remotely attached.

Western Digital expects to leverage Kazan Networks' technology to accelerate the company's storage infrastructure capabilities and performance.

Phil Bullinger, senior vice president and general manager of Western Digital's Data Center Systems business, said in a prepared statement that Kazan Networks provides industry-leading solutions for connecting storage subsystems to Ethernet fabrics.

"The addition of Kazan Networks will further expand Western Digital's leadership in disaggregated data infrastructure and accelerate the advancement of new, CDI (composable disaggregated infrastructure)-ready NVMe-oF platforms optimized for our customers' next-generation hyperscale workloads. We are pleased to welcome the Kazan Networks' talented team to our organization," Bullinger said.

Western Digital, known primarily as a manufacturer of hard disk drives and flash storage drives, has in the last few years moved to become a major provider of a wide range of storage components and systems, in large part via acquisitions.

Western Digital in August of 2017 acquired Tegile Systems, a maker of flash storage technologies focused on enterprise data centers. The company was previously an investor in Tegile.

The company in October of 2015 acquired SanDisk in a $19-billion deal giving it a top-level flash storage technology.

2013 saw Western Digital invest heavily in flash storage with the acquisitions of sTec, Virident, Velobit, and Arkeia Software. The year before, Western Digital acquired Hitachi GST, or HGST, in a $4.3-billion deal.

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