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EMC Acquires Server-Side Flash Developer DSSD, Plans 2015 Product Release

DSSD, which had been in stealth mode, was founded by Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, and helps complete EMC's strategy of 'flash everywhere.'

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EMC's Joe Tucci (right) greets DSSD's Andy Bechtolsheim.

EMC this week at EMC World said it has acquired DSSD, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based developer of server-side flash storage, and unveiled plans to use the company's technology to accelerate applications running in the server.

DSSD, which had been in stealth mode, helps complete EMC's strategy of "flash everywhere," said Jeremy Burton, president of EMC's Information Infrastructure products.

DSSD is not yet a product but is more of a project with first shipments expected to start in 2015, Burton said at a press conference during the EMC World conference in Las Vegas.

[Related: HP Plans EMC World Visit, Will Attempt To Lure EMC Customers]

"But we believe this is a product for the future that can deliver bandwidth and IOPS," he said.

Unlike EMC's XtremIO all-flash storage array, which substitutes high-performance flash for disk to store data, DSSD is developing rack-scale server-side flash storage designed to speed up application performance, Burton later told CRN.

EMC declined to offer performance or capacity details of the DSSD rack-scale server-side flash device. However, it is expected to be faster than EMC XtremIO, which has a latency of less than 1 millisecond.

David Goulden, CEO of EMC's Information Infrastructure business, said during his EMC World keynote that the DSSD technology overcomes some of the key limitations of PCIe, including typical capacity limits of 1 TB to 2 TB, poor manageability, and the need to rewrite applications.

Goulden said the DSSD technology initially will target such applications as MongoDB, Hadoop, SAP HANA and EMC Pivotal.

DSSD had not yet appeared on the channel's radar, said Keith Norbie, director of server, virtualization and storage for the Eastern U.S. for Technology Integration Group, a San Diego-based solution provider and EMC partner.

While EMC has released few details about DSSD, it appears to be a tightly integrated solution that is differentiated from XtremIO, Norbie said.

"While all-flash SSD-based storage is already accepted in the market, EMC is saying it wants to go beyond that in performance," he said. "To scale performance, where do you go next? You want the storage as close to the application as possible."

Both EMC and SAP were early investors in DSSD, with EMC being the lead investor in DSSD's A round of funding, Burton told CRN.

NEXT: EMC And SAP Gain From Acquisition


During EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci's EMC World keynote, SAP Co-CEO Bill McDermott called in by video to congratulate EMC on the acquisition. Burton told CRN that McDermott's call was arranged at the last minute, as the agreement for EMC to acquire DSSD was signed only Friday.

"The paper is still warm," he said. "SAP didn't know we were acquiring DSSD. But we didn't have to tell SAP this is a good thing. They are all over the technology. So getting Bill McDermott to talk this morning was one of the easiest things we've ever did. Joe Tucci called Bill to ask him to talk at EMC World. He told Bill he could say why."

Because of its early investment in DSSD, EMC was able to do some joint development with the company, Burton told CRN. "With startups, we like to do a road test," he said. "We came to the conclusion that DSSD had a great team."

The DSSD team includes Andy Bechtolsheim, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems and the chairman and chief development officer of Arista Networks, and Bill Moore, Sun's former chief storage engineer and employee No. 1 of 3Par, which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard to form the backbone of HP's storage business.

Once the acquisition is complete, DSSD will become a stand-alone unit within EMC's Emerging Technology Products Division, headed by Chirantan "C.J." Desai. Moore will lead the DSSD business within EMC while Bechtolsheim will continue as strategic adviser.

This is not EMC's first investment to develop server-side flash storage technology. EMC in early 2012 unveiled Project Thunder, which at the time was described as a server network appliance with multiple PCIe storage cards inside and to the server through a high-speed connection to deliver millions of IOs per seconds with microsecond performance.

DSSD replaces Project Thunder, Burton said. "We killed Project Thunder to invest in DSSD," he said.

PUBLISHED MAY 6, 2014

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