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Fusion-io grabs more flash software, with other acquisitions to follow

Fusion-io CEO David Flynn said Linux and open source have emerged as the keys to software development for flash, and that is why his company this week acquired U.K.-based ID7.

ID7 developed the open source SCSI Target Subsystem (SCST)for Linux. SCST is a SCSI target subsystem that allows companies to turn any Linux box into a storage device. It links storage to the system’s SCSI drivers through Fibre Channel, iSCSI, Ethernet, SAS, Fibre Channel over Ethernet and InfiniBand to provide replication, think provisioning, deduplication, automatic backup and other storage functions.

Fusion-io already licenses SCST for its ION Data Accelerator virtual appliance that turns servers into all-flash storage devices. But the ID7 acquisition gives Fusion-io greater control of the SCST technology, as well as the engineers who developed it.

Flynn said Linux is the crucial operating system for flash developers, and SCST is used by most vendors who build flash storage systems.

“Linux is the new storage platform and open is the new storage architecture,” Flynn said. “Anybody building a flash memory appliance is using Linux. We believe software-defined storage systems are the future, Linux is the foundation of that, and we have accumulated many key Linux kernel contributors.”

Flynn won’t say how much Fusion-io paid for ID7 or even how many engineers it will add from the acquisition. He did say he is committed to honoring ID7’s license deals, maintaining an open source version of SCST and contributing to the open source distribution.

“We believe in open systems,” he said. “We will continue to support the industry, competitors included. But our only real competitor is EMC.”

EMC positions their new XtremSF PCIe cards – sold through OEM deals with other vendors – as Fusion-io killers. The SCST web site lists EMC as a user of the technology.

Flynn said he expects Fusion-io to be an active acquirer of flash technology that it does not develop internally, such as the caching software it gained by buying startup IO Turbine for $95 million in 2011.

“Flash changes the game in a lot of ways,” Flynn said. “The industry is growing so quickly it would be silly to presume we can build everything internally.”

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