OCZ Acquires Sanrad, Targets Flash Storage For Virtualized Data Centers

SSD maker OCZ Technology on Monday said it had acquired Sanrad, an Israel-based developer of Flash storage caching and virtualization software and hardware.

Sanrad's hardware and software products, which are certified with VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix virtualization technologies, are expected to help accelerate OCZ's PCIE-based Flash storage solutions in virtualized data centers, OCZ said.

Sanrad's VXL software ties the company's Flash cache and virtualization technology to virtualized environments by allowing guest virtual machines to be hosted in the cache. Those virtual machines connect to storage via the industry-standard iSCSI protocol, which enables them to work seamlessly with such operating systems as Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, and Linux without the need to install an agent or driver on each VM.

VXL also supports important enterprise storage features such as quality of service, high-availability clustering, mirroring, WAN replication, and snapshots, and guarantees complete cache migration when used with VMware's vMotion virtual machine migration function.

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The Sanrad technology is currently being sold to OEMs such as Nexsan and Brocade, as well as to enterprise customers via the channel.

The acquisition is important for OCZ in order to bring its SSD and PCIE-based Flash storage solution to virtualized data center environments, said Ryan Petersen, OCZ CEO, in a prepared statement.

"It significantly enhances the ability for customers to increase datacenter performance and efficiency by putting more virtual machines (VM) on a server without slowing down the VM's ability to access stored data, thus substantially lowering the overall cost of deployment," Petersen said in the statement.

Aaron Rakers, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, wrote in a research brief on Monday that OCZ's acquisition of Sanrad is similar to Fusion-io's acquisition last year of IO Turbine.

"We would view this acquisition as a competitive move relative to Fusion-io’s prior acquisition of IO Turbine in which Fusion-io acquired the ioCache hardware/software to extend the company’s caching and data acceleration capabilities for VMware ESX, Hyper-V, and (Citrix XenServer) in addition to Fusion’s directCache software for Microsoft Windows and Linux environments," Rakers wrote Monday morning.

2011 saw a couple of acquisitions related to consolidating Flash-based storage and memory technologies, in addition to IO Turbine's acquisition by Fusion-io.

Apple in late December made one of its rare acquisition when it purchased Anobit, an Israel-based Flash drive performance chip developer and SSD manufacturer.

Storage and networking semiconductor maker LSI last Fall acquired SandForce, one of the top developers of processors for controlling Flash memory in solid state drives, PCIe cache devices, and similar products.

OCZ in March acquired Indilinx, a developer of SSD controller technology.

And, in a turnaround form of acquisition, SSD controller maker SanDisk this Summer acquired SSD maker Pliant Technology.

OCZ paid $15 million via a new issue of 2.1 million shares of OCZ common stock for Sanrad.

OCZ executives were unavailable for further comment.