Texas Memory Systems Acquires Patents, Prepares For SSD Competition

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The acquisition includes six patents that were already awarded Incipient, and three in process, said Woody Hutsell, president of Houston-based Texas Memory Systems.

However, it does not include any equity stake in Incipient, Hutsell said.

Texas Memory Systems manufactures Flash-based solid state drives and storage systems aimed at accelerating enterprise applications under the RamSan brand. The company is privately owned, and has been profitable for all but two years since its founding 30 years ago, Hutsell said.

The technology acquired from Incipient is related to ways for implementing virtualization for storage networking, including the ability to interrogate data to determine whether it can be sent directly to its destination or if it must be held for further evaluation, Hutsell said.

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With the new technology, Texas Memory Systems will be able to add important storage services such as replication, automated tiering, thin provisioning and deduplication to its storage products, he said.

"I'm not saying any of these are part of a planned release," he said. "But I'm saying we can provide such services in the future."

Those services are needed as tier-one storage vendors such as EMC and Hitachi Data Systems continue to add solid state drive (SSD) technology to their storage arrays, Hutsell said.

While Texas Memory Systems continues to provide the best performance and reliability of all the vendors focused on Flash-based storage market, the competition from the tier-one vendors is increasing as they add SSDs to existing arrays that also provide the kinds of storage services required by enterprise customers, Hutsell said.

As a result, despite Texas Memory Systems' performance advantage, the ability of tier-one vendors to combine SSDs with their storage services increases competitive pressure on companies focused exclusively on Flash-based storage.

"That's what has changed so dramatically, and why we need to make the investment," he said. "Those companies don't really compete with us in terms of performance, because we're really fast. But as more companies add solid-state storage, we need to compete with more storage services."

Incipient is a Waltham, Mass.-based developer of software solutions to improve data mobility in large SAN environments.

The company's intelligent automation and device abstraction technologies enable data mobility for use in areas such as data center consolidation, storage array technology refreshes and storage tier optimization.

Incipient did not return phone or e-mail requests for further information.

Hutsell declined to discuss what will happen with Incipient as a result of its selling its patents and source code to Texas Memory Systems, other than to say that Incipient will be supporting its existing customers. Terms of the technology acquisition were not disclosed.