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.


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:


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.


Utilizing Hardware

Experience level:
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!

Virident Breaks Silence with Major *yawn* Announcement

February 8, 2012

After nearly 3 months of silence, Virident released news based on evaluations from ESG.  But you won’t find this on their website — so very strange. Also, it’s never explicit stated but I believe these results are sponsored.  Would love to see Finisar / Medusa independent testing wouldn’t you?

Here is the notice from Marketwire:  http://www.marketwatch.com/story/virident-and-nec-set-record-oracle-database-performance-of-12-million-iops-2012-02-08

Here is the reaction from The Register:  http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/08/virident_nec_oracle/

and here is the Virident-sponsored ESG whitepaper:  http://www.enterprisestrategygroup.com/2012/01/virident-flashmax/

This is why Fusion-io snapped at the chance to grab Woody Hutsell from TMS…

February 5, 2012

and why everyone else is trying to catch up…

Woody’s recent blog repost on the FIO website is stunning and tells the growth story in the VM world.  There is nothing like this anywhere else technology-wise.  EMC’s lightning has nothing on Fusion-io.

See it here:  http://www.fusionio.com/blog/why-server-side-caching-rocks/

Open Letter to Kevin Hunt re FIO Analysis

January 25, 2012


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.