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Current Overview

On August, 16, 2012, IBM announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Texas Memory Systems (TMS).

TMS was arguably the first company to produce an all flash storage system. However, it was unable to sustain itself in the now hotly contested solid state storage systems (SSSS) market. Its competitors, Nimbus Data Systems, Pure Storage, Violin Memory, and most recently Skyera have taken much of the mindshare away from TMS.

In February, 2009, TMS and NetApp announced a partnership that NetApp would be supporting the TMS RamSan products behind its filers. But despite leveraging the NetApp name, TMS still was unable to shift the mindshare of users.

TMS had been a pioneer in flash storage technology and has a comprehensive portfolio of various all-flash products. This acquisition would allow IBM to offer its clients flash optimized storage infrastructure by integrating flash technology into a variety of IBM solutions, including storage, servers, software and PureSystems offerings.

Neuralytix Perspective

This acquisition by IBM is demonstrative of its intent to own technologies rather than licensing them from others like it had done in years past. Neuralytix believes the combination the technologies in TMS, with IBM’s XIV, Storewise V7000, SONAS and its flagship DS8000 storage solutions will put IBM in the same camp as EMC and Oracle. It propels IBM from its other competitors, HP and Dell, both of whom continue to OEM technologies from other flash vendors.

For IBM, a big proponent of the Big Data market, owning a SSSS solution will also allow it to improve the time-to-value of its Big Data customers. Big Data is not a single technology, but the orchestration of many interdependent technologies. Performance is determined by the weakest link along the “data supply chain”.

The ownership of SSSS technologies will obviously bolster IBM Storage.

IBM is unique in its position within the solid state storage market. Its own research arm, IBM Research is leading the development of alternative solid state storage technologies, including phase change memory (PCM). Owning the storage system technology will enable IBM to accelerate time-to-market for these new technologies, and not be reliant on its adoption by external partners or vendors.

As far as acquisitions are concerned, IBM is not known for its fast turnaround of the technologies it acquires. For example, it took IBM almost ten months between the acquisition of XIV and its re-release. During that time, IBM lost a

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lot of the momentum and leadership that the XIV solution offered. Although Neuralytix believes that IBM today has regained all the lost ground. Time is of the essence here for IBM.

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