SanDisk Buys Schooner, Moves Into Enterprise Software Space

SanDisk, Milpitas, Calif., Tuesday said it had acquired Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Schooner as a way to expand its software business and move up the enterprise product stack.

The acquisition, details of which were not released, gives SanDisk a chance to increase its business in the enterprise market by moving in on customers and channel partners from both a hardware and a software perspective, said Patricia Harrell, SanDisk's director of strategic business development for its Enterprise Storage Solutions group.

[Related: SanDisk Plans To Buy SSD Maker Pliant Technology ]

SanDisk, which started out as a Flash memory technology developer, started its enterprise journey with its May 2011 acquisition of SSD maker Pliant Technology, Harrell said.

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It then made its first foray into the software market with its February acquisition of FlashSoft, a developer of software for adding SSD caching capabilities to software applications.

With Schooner, SanDisk now gets two enterprise applications.

The first is SchoonerSQL, a full SQL database that Schooner said provides 99.999 percent availability, guaranteed no data loss, and automated failover across LAN or WAN. SchoonerSQL is compatible with MySQL and the standard InnoDB storage engine.

The second is Membrain, a caching software that can be used with SSDs as a pure cache or as a persistent NoSQL data store, either stand-alone or as a database front end.

"Now with Schooner, we are integrating higher into the stack of our enterprise customers," Harrell said. "So now we are stretching across both hardware and software."

Harrell said SanDisk's acquisition of Schooner will not turn the company into a competitor with other software developers.

"We are taking an open approach to this," she said. "We're moving up the solution stack to offer new technologies to customers. But it also brings us closer to the application space to better work with partners. The Schooner software will work with non-SanDisk Flash, and SanDisk will also work with other software vendors' products."

Harrell acknowledged that the open-source database software market is a sliver of the huge $25 billion database market. However, she said, it does fill a fast-growing niche.

"The Schooner software is designed to fill in the gap between open-source implementations of MySQL and NoSQL, where customers need to do their own tuning, and the high-end database market," she said. "That's a pretty big gap."

The entire Schooner team has moved over to SanDisk and will be led by Jerry Rudisin, who was Schooner's CEO and president.