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EMC acquires DSSD for future server-side flash system

EMC acquires startup DSSD for server-side flash technology that tackles in-memory databases and Hadoop analytics storage; product expected in 2015.

LAS VEGAS -- EMC today said it has acquired DSSD, a startup that is developing a server-side flash storage architecture for in-memory workloads such as SAP HANA. EMC did not disclose financial details of the deal, and gave few technical details of the DSSD product because it is not expected until 2015.

"We are announcing an acquisition, not a product," said Jeremy Burton, EMC president of products and marketing. "We believe there is a new category of storage emerging, and we think this will change the game for server-side flash."

Little is known about DSSD, but the chip-maker's management roster  is filled with familiar names. Sun founder Andy Bechtolsheim is DSSD chairman, and the management team is heavy with former Sun engineers. DSSD CEO Bill Moore was a Sun chief storage engineer and led its ZFS storage software development team, and he was 3PAR's first employee in 1999. Moore founded DSSD in 2010 along with Jeff Bonwick, another leader of the ZFS team.

The DSSD web site has no information on products or technology. Bechtolsheim said the flash system is optimized for in-memory databases, high-performance and real-time data analytics.

David Goulden, CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure, called DSSD "the next chapter in server-attached flash storage" in the EMC World 2014 opening keynote.

That was after Bechtolsheim joined EMC CEO Joe Tucci on stage and said his latest startup has been busy "building the world's fastest flash array. It's not about files and blocks," Bechtolsheim added. "It's about how to accelerate Hadoop and HANA."

Moore gave a bit more detail in a short appearance in the press briefing room after the keynote. "Each chip represents capacity and performance," he said. "The question is how to extract all the performance sitting there latent, and deliver it to the operating system. We think we've solved that second part. We can deliver levels of performance natively to applications that traditional storage systems don't work for."

When asked how DSSD managed to stay off the radar until now, Moore said, "Any time we found someone we thought would understand what we're working on, we hired them and told them not to talk to anybody else."

Of course, EMC knew about DSSD. It was the lead investor of DSSD's Series A funding round and a development partner.

"If you have applications that are very I/O intensive, need low latency and high bandwidth, this company has storage for you," Tucci said when he introduced Bechtolsheim during the keynote.

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