HGST to Acquire sTec: FULL PR TEXT HERE

June 26, 2013

HGST to Deepen SSD Capabilities and Expertise with sTec IP and Engineering Talent 

SAN JOSE and SANTA ANA, Calif., June 24, 2013 – Western Digital® Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC) and sTec, Inc. (NASDAQ: STEC) announced today that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which sTec, Inc., an early innovator in enterprise solid-state drives (SSDs), will be acquired by HGST, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Western Digital. sTec will be acquired for approximately $340 million in cash, which equates to $6.85 per share. This represents approximately $207 million in enterprise value, net of sTec’s cash as of March 31, 2013.

The pending acquisition augments HGST’s existing solid-state storage capabilities, accelerating its ability to expand its participation in the rapidly growing area of enterprise SSDs. HGST remains committed to its highly successful joint development program with Intel® Corp. and will continue to deliver current and future SAS-based SSD products with Intel.

sTec has strong engineering talent and intellectual property that will complement HGST technical expertise and capabilities. HGST will continue to support existing sTec® products and collaborate with its customers to understand their future requirements.

“Solid state storage in the enterprise will play an increasingly strategic role in the future of Western Digital,” said Steve Milligan, president and chief executive officer, Western Digital Corporation. “This acquisition is one more building block in our strategy to capitalize on the dramatic changes within the storage industry by investing in SSDs and other high-growth storage products.”

“This acquisition demonstrates HGST’s ongoing commitment to the rapidly growing enterprise SSD segment, where we already have a successful product line,” said Mike Cordano, president, HGST. “We are excited to welcome such a talented team of professionals to HGST, where their inventive spirit will be embraced and encouraged.”

“At this key point in the evolution of the storage industry, sTec is excited to consummate this transaction. It will be an important next step in proliferating many of the innovative products and technologies that sTec has been known for throughout its 23-year history and provides immediate value for our shareholders and a strong future for our employees and customers,” said Mark Moshayedi, president and chief executive officer, sTec. “This merger will enable our world-class engineering team and IP to continue to make a significant contribution to the high-performance enterprise SSD space that has long been sTec’s focus.”

The board of directors of sTec, on the unanimous recommendation of a special committee of independent directors of the board, has unanimously approved the merger agreement and has resolved to recommend that sTec shareholders approve the transaction at a sTec shareholders meeting to be held to approve the merger agreement and the merger. The directors and executive officers of sTec have entered into separate voting agreements under which they have agreed, subject to certain exceptions, to vote their respective shares in favor of the proposed transaction.

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC has acted as the financial advisor to Western Digital and BofA Merrill Lynch has acted as the financial advisor to sTec in connection with this transaction.

Closing of the acquisition, which is subject to customary conditions, is expected to occur in the third or fourth calendar quarter of 2013.


FIO and OCZ got hammered last week…

July 15, 2012

OCZ got hammered after the earnings call so I went ahead added a boatload…earnings for FIO in 30 days.  One analyst predicts $95m for the quarter with increased margins above 54%*.  That equates to FY12 of $347.7m in revenue.  I believe the FY12 number will be closer to $400m and the margin will be slightly less — here is the YTD chart for FIO compared to OCZ.

FIO/OCZ YTD CHART

One expert I spoke with said the FIO/Princeton announcement about seamless memory w/ HSM applied is more marketing spin than technology innovation.  But my feeling is the horse is out of the barn on this announcement which was lead by Princeton University.  Net Net:  Rick White still owns the flash mindspace — no one even comes close.

In other not random news:

  • A buddy of mine is now at CORAID — he’s one of the most senior and respected pre-sales engineers in the storage space and his Rolodex is without peer.  Carl Wright is making waves over there.
  • Google just picked up some really ugly space on the western side of 101 and Informedika, my firm, got kicked out of our month-to-month lease recently — we were in the no-man’s-land east of 101 in that little corner tucked in between Moffett and NetApp.
  • Traffic on both the 101 & 280 are misery this summer.
  • Some friends  just paid $1000 sq/ft for a condo in SOMA on the east side of 3rd street.

Conclusion:  Silicon Valley (and the Bay Area in general)  Is Back

*Courtesy of Andrew Nowinski.  Copyright 2012 Piper Jaffray. All rights reserved.


GridIron CTO Talks About PCIe Flash

March 22, 2012

GridIron Systems is making news this week about its new SAN-attached data accelerator called the TURBOCHARGER (can somebody please alert the marketing department this product name is reserved for automobiles engines?).

Anyway, the CTO is Som Sikdar — no introductions needed, right?  Legend!  Here are his views on flash:

http://bigdatafasttracked.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/pcipart1/

GridIron Systems


SSD Update: this is the one session you MUST ATTEND at Percona MySQL in April

March 20, 2012

MySQL and SSD: usage and tuning

In this talk, Vadim Tkachenko (Percona CTO) will cover Solid State Drives internals and how they affect database performance.
IO level benchmarks for SATA (Intel 320 SSD) and PCI-e (FusionIO, Virident) cards
to show absolute performance and give an idea on performance per $.
And finally how you can use MySQL and Percona Server with SSD,
what tuning parameters are most important and what performance may expect in real
production usage.

Track:

Utilizing Hardware

Experience level:
 Beginner
REGISTER HERE:  http://www.percona.com/live/mysql-conference-2012/
Note from Steve:  This show is a MUST for anyone thinking about solid state memory extensions or SSDs.  Just take a look at the speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors!
Home

What’s new in NAND This Morning: OCZ & VMEM

March 12, 2012

OCZ makes some very cool announcements — adds OEM partners

http://investorshub.advfn.com/boards/read_msg.aspx?message_id=73151587

Violin Memory closes a huge deal w/ a Federal Integrator

http://www.fbodaily.com/archive/2012/03-March/08-Mar-2012/FBO-02689900.htm


Barclays Believes In Violin Memory

February 20, 2012

Violin Memory – All Flash Memory Arrays Seeing Increased Interest

Violin Memory is a privately held emerging player in storage, offering all SSD Flash storage arrays for primary data. Violin’s storage arrays connect to servers and provide significantly improved performance over traditional HDD/SSD hybrid storage arrays. The company’s solutions are used in environments that require high power and capacity with little to no latency. According to Violin, its SSD arrays can help accelerate the performance of applications in database environments (for reporting and transaction acceleration), Web servers, scientific computing (HPC), and Tier 0 storage. In June of 2010, Violin acquired Gear6, a company focused on Memcaching, a distributed memory caching system for web and cloud environments, which helps increase utilization among server and storage assets. The company has key strategic relationships with Toshiba (a supplier of its NAND Flash) and Juniper, who have each made significant investments in the company over the past several years.

Violin’s go-to-market strategy consists of its direct sales force, key VARs, and co-branded joint-selling agreements with HP (to compete against Exadata) and IBM to deploy IBM’s GPFS file system in clustered, scale-out environments. Violin’s solution is seeing significant interest in databases running Oracle, DB2 and SQL. Violin has previously stated that it expects to exit its current fiscal year (ending in January 2012) with $100mm in trailing revenue, with a go forward run-rate of $40 million-$50 million per quarter. We believe the company is looking to fill out its solution set with feature-rich software and could look to acquire new point products or develop these capabilities internally. Violin’s technology already includes data management tools but the company seems to be looking at adding increased features and functionality over time. We believe that both all-flash memory arrays and flash-based PCIe-based server storage represent the next wave of technologies that are altering the landscape of the storage industry. We believe that customers can find compelling use cases for these solutions and that Violin Memory (as well as companies such as Fusion-io) will continue to gain share within this growing market.

(Copyrighted Material from Barclays Capital Equity Research)


When Violin-Memory’s CEO Don Basile Speaks Out, People Listen…

January 31, 2012

The solid-state memory storage sector often gets a bad rap on pricing, Basile said.

“The mid-tier and below market is quite confused right now [about whether to move to pure SSD storage],” he said. “We’re finding a bifurcation in the market. We’re able to deal with large banks, Internet properties and government buyers very easily. They’re the ones who’ve helped shape our product line over the last two-plus years. That’s why we’re seeing traction with their platforms, and why we grew to $100 million four years faster than 3PAR, five years faster than Isilon, and two years faster than Data Domain.”

(repost:  http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Data-Storage/Violin-Memory-Pushing-Flash-Arrays-into-Tier-1-Storage-769120/)


Violin-Memory Ready to IPO

January 29, 2012

Over the weekend, Violin-Memory posted a job on LinkedIn for an SEC Compliance Manager:

http://www.linkedin.com/jobs?viewJob=&jobId=2471619

Not to mention a ton of new job openings here and in Europe:

Jobs

  • Linux Systems Administrator

    Tagged as: Engineering Services

    Violin Memory Engineering Systems team member required to participate in providing the engineering and support resources needed to drive an evolving, fast-paced engineering team in a startup environment.

  • SEC and Compliance Manager

    Tagged as: Finance

    This position will be responsible for managing all SEC reporting and managing the Company’s SOX compliance program.

  • ASIC Design Engineer

    Tagged as: Hardware

    Develop microarchitecture and RTL for high performance PCIe based RAID controller and flash controller. Drive synthesis, formal verification and timing closure (STA) of Storage controller ASIC. Candidate must be highly motivated, and well organized.

  • Verification Engineer

    Tagged as: Hardware

    Looking for a talented, motivated technical leader for Design Verification to design a verification environment for a set of storage devices, and have a big outcome on the acceptance of flash memory in large enterprises.

  • Release & Change Management Engineer

    Tagged as: Platform Engineering

    Administers and develops the source code control system for all mainframe and open server environments. Creates, tests and implements automated software code build and deployment scripts for mainframe and open server applications.

  • Product Marketing Manager

    Tagged as: Product Marketing

    The candidate will lead development of world class marketing materials that drive and support Violin’s leadership of the Flash Memory Array field in the marketplace. The candidate will develop/create a range of marketing materials and initiatives.

  • Channel Managers (Europe)

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    Proven record of building an international channels team in a high growth competitive environment.

  • Sales Engineers

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    The primary technical resource for the AM for both pre and post sales activities. SE’s will actively drive and managing the tech evaluation stage of the sales process via PoC

  • Sales Executives

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    Proven track record of selling and partnering in the data center environment required.

  • Sales Executives – UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    Proven track record of selling and partnering in the data center environment required. Country, region and language experience required.

  • Solutions Architect

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    A Solution Architect is a strong technical voice focused on key partner and customer relationships. A Solution Architect will work with customers and partners to design solutions that will create customer success.

  • System Engineers – UK, France, Germany & Scandinavia

    Tagged as: Sales/Business Development

    Experience in both pre and post sales of enterprise Storage & Computing solutions. High speed networking knowledge required – FC & 10Gb technologies. Hands on POC support skills a must. Country, region and language experience required.

  • Data Management Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced software developers to lead development of data mobility (Replication, Snapshots etc.) and reduction (Compression, De-dupe etc.) software features for a high performance storage array.

  • Device Driver Software Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced high performance storage driver developer for existing drivers, adding/extending features and supporting new hardware. Candidate will work with OEM partners in porting drivers to custom environments.

  • Infiniband Device Driver Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced Infiniband driver developer to lead development of an innovative high performance storage product. Requires proven experience with the IB protocol stack from RDMA and the verbs layer upward, including iSER and SRP.

  • Platform Integration Software Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Experienced software developer(s) to join Platform Integration Team. The engineer should have 5+ years experience software development, preferably in one or more of the following areas: embedded OS, networked storage or high availability systems.

  • Senior Web Interface Engineer (Front End Development)

    Tagged as: Software

    You will be responsible building the web-based front end interface for a new class of flash-based infrastructure product at Violin Memory

  • Storage Appliance Software Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking embedded software developers with experience implementing features for storage appliances.

  • Systems Management Software Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced systems management developer with experience in appliance or embedded products.

  • Windows Storage Device Driver Engineer

    Tagged as: Software

    Seeking experienced Windows storage driver developer for existing drivers and new driver development, adding/extending features and supporting new hardware.

  • Technical Support Engineers

    Tagged as: Support

    The Technical Support Engineer provides phone, email and remote technical support and is responsible for assisting customers and field personnel with installation, configuration and troubleshooting our direct and SAN attached FLASH storage products.


Open Letter to Kevin Hunt re FIO Analysis

January 25, 2012

Kevin,

Your recent comments regarding FIO are off the mark, in my opinion.  The competition in the enterprise is, so far, non-existent; ask anyone at the end-users or even at the mftrs.  Can you find EVEN ONE data center to stand up and say we have a 2nd source w/ Virident?  OCZ?  TMS?  Or you can go direct to LSI, OCZ, Virident:  where has anyone developed even one relationship (OEM or end-user) or sold even one device to a major data center?

You keep saying there is pressure on FIO — but where is it coming from?  I think it comes from Violin, Exadata, etc — perhaps Solidfire, Nimbus.  But even Kaminario and Schooner use FIO inside  — so the appliance v. PCIe argument is less meaningful.

I think FIO shot itself in the foot this qtr — as a young company it really does not know how to manage expectations yet.  More importantly, the market is blue ocean and highly unpredictable.  But in the meantime, they are growing (incontrovertibly) to $100m per qtr.

I think you will agree that they are looking at something north of $350m for the FY.

And, at the same time, they are sucking the oxygen out of everyone else’s fire.  ioTurbine and ACM are truly disruptive — it takes time to get the message out, show the value, funnel the sales efforts.

The margins will come back — we both know this — and when they do, FIO is $40 and beyond.  They really ARE the next VM, DDUP, Riverbed — you name it.

I am a former employe and long FIO.


First it was John Cagle…then Woody Hutsell…now Shane Robison

January 12, 2012

I was just thinking about all the little camp fires that are now burning around Fusion-io.  Whether it’s the obvious competition from Virident or OCZ/Marvell or STEC or the less obvious and longer sales cycles of appliance vendors like Violin Memory or even attempts to update legacy storage with flash from EMC or NetApp.

And then I was looking at TOPSY results for Fusion-io.  If you are not aware of TOPSY go there right now — a very cool tweet search engine.  And I noticed a very long list of career opens at Fusion-io:  see the sample below.

Anyway, about those campfires — they are having the oxygen sucked out of them by some very clever folks at Fusion-io who are hiring just about everyone and anyone in the flash space.

Moral of the Story:  if you want to be relevant in flash — you need to be recruited into Fusion-io (at least for now).

Department Position Title City State
Sales Account Executive – Atlanta Atlanta GA
Sales – APAC Account Executive – Beijing Beijing
Reliability/Tools NVM Technologist Boulder CO
Reliability/Tools HA Applications Engineer Boulder CO
Sales OEM Systems Engineer Raleigh NC
Sales Account Executive – Carolinas Raleigh NC
Sales OEM Systems Engineer Round Rock TX
Sales Renewal Manager Salt Lake City UT
Software Engineering Software Engineer Salt Lake City UT
Software Engineering Test Automation Engineer Salt Lake City UT
Hardware Engineering Senior Software Engineer Salt Lake City UT
Reliability/Tools Solid State Storage Tech Salt Lake City UT
Reliability/Tools Engineering Technician Salt Lake City UT
Finance Accounting Manager Salt Lake City UT
Finance Accounts Receivable Manager Salt Lake City UT
HR Recruiting Business Partner Salt Lake City UT
Software Engineering Student Intern Salt Lake City, UT or Boulder, CO
Software Engineering Engineering Program Manager Salt Lake City, UT or Boulder, CO
Software Engineering Applications Team Manager Salt Lake City, UT or San Jose, CA
Software Engineering Senior Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT or San Jose, CA
Reliability/Tools Software Engineer Lead Salt Lake City, UT or San Jose, CA
Operations Manufacturing Engineer Salt Lake City, UT or San Jose, CA
Software Engineering Senior Build Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Software Engineering Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Software Engineering Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Software Engineering Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Software Engineering Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Software Engineering Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Software Engineering Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Hardware Engineering Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Reliability/Tools Senior Software Engineer Salt Lake City, UT; San Jose, CA; Boulder, CO
Sales Systems Engineer Manager, West San Jose CA
Sales OEM Systems Engineer San Jose CA
Software Engineering Technical Manager of Platform Team San Jose CA
Software Engineering Senior Software Engineer San Jose CA
Software Engineering SAN Protocols and Windows Engineer San Jose CA
Software Engineering Senior SQA Engineer San Jose CA
Software Engineering Performance Engineer San Jose CA
Software Engineering SQA Engineer San Jose CA
Software Engineering SQA Engineer San Jose CA
Software Engineering Virtualization Engineer San Jose CA
Finance Sales Commissions Manager San Jose CA
Finance Finance Manager San Jose CA
Virtualization Solutions Senior Software Engineer San Jose CA
Virtualization Solutions Kernel Engineer San Jose CA
Virtualization Solutions QA Lead San Jose CA
Virtualization Solutions Systems Software Engineer San Jose CA
Virtualization Solutions Kernel Engineer San Jose CA
Virtualization Solutions Senior Software Engineer San Jose CA
Sales – APAC Sales Engineer – Shanghai Shanghai
Sales – APAC Account Executive – South China South China
Sales Account Executive – FED Civilian Washington DC DC