SanDisk to acquire Fusion-io for $1.1 billion

The consolidation continues in the SSD industry. SanDisk announced this morning that it's set to purchase Fusion-io for $1.1 billion in cash. According to SanDisk President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra, the acquisition will "accelerate [SanDisk's] efforts to enable the flash-transformed data center, helping companies better manage increasingly heavy data workloads at a lower total cost of ownership."

Fusion-io has been offering enterprise-oriented SSDs since 2007. It was one of the first drive makers to put flash memory on a PCI Express card, and that interface has dominated the firm's lineup ever since. SanDisk's enterprise portfolio is made up mostly of SATA and SAS products, with only one PCIe drive in the mix, so Fusion-io looks like a good fit. Fusion-io also offers flash-filled storage appliances in addition to SSD-specific caching and virtualization software.

Hooking up with SanDisk should give Fusion-io better access to cutting-edge NAND. SanDisk has a joint manufacturing venture with Toshiba, one of the biggest flash makers around. In fact, the two companies recently announced work on a new fab devoted exclusively to 3D NAND. The acquisition highlights the growing importance of in-house NAND production. Most of the big SSD vendors fab their own NAND, giving them a distinct edge over drive makers that do not.

The SanDisk and Fusion-io boards have both agreed to the deal, which is still pending regulatory approval. The acquisition is expected to be finalized in the third quarter of this year.

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