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Western Digital picks up Virident, pockets more flash

Western Digital continued its flash storage shopping spree today, saying it intends to acquire server-side flash startup Virident Systems for $685 million.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2013, and Virident will become part of Western Digital’s HGST subsidiary. Virident is the third flash acquisition for Western Digital/HGST this year.

Western Digital/HGST’s $340 million acquisition of solid-state drive (SSD) manufacturer sTEC is also expected to close by the end of the year and it already closed on caching software startup VeloBit.

Virident launched its first FlashMAX PCIe card in 2011, and added FlashMAX II with double the capacity a year ago. The startup also sells FlashMax Connect software that provides high availability, pooling of storage across servers and caching for its PCI Express (PCIe) cards.

Virident, which had $116 million in funding, has OEM partnerships with Seagate and EMC. Seagate sells Virident PCIe cards as its X8 Accelerator. The future of that deal is uncertain because Western Digital is a Seagate competitor. EMC sells Virident FlashMAX II cards as part of its XtremSF PCIe flash portfolio.

Virident CEO Mike Gustafson will become HGST senior vice president and lead the Virdent team inside Western Digital.

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