IBM plans on buying Texas Memory Systems, a high-performance data storage provider, for an undisclosed sum. The deal further roils an SSD market already wondering about the target of Seagate’s urge to acquire an enterprise solid-state company. Texas Memory Systems began shopping itself earlier in 2012, with chief executive Holly Frost telling CNBC that the company was seeking a buyer. “Texas Memory Systems needs more clout,” Frost told The Register last December. “In order to start moving beyond $100m in sales and compete with the Giants, TMS needs a serious partner or needs to be acquired by a serious larger company.” TMS has positioned its Ram-San solid-state drives as “application accelerators,” combining up to 24 terabytes of solid-state storage with an architecture that uses a combination of FPGAs as well as dedicated CPUs to monitor and control the drive. That, according to TMS, allows the company to upgrade the performance and add new features even in the field. TMS recently announced the Ram-San 820, which includes 24 TB of eMLC flash storage, and 4 GB/s of bandwidth accessible through InfiniBand and 8 GB Fibre Channel interfaces in a 1U rackmount form factor. SSDs have evolved into an alternative for traditional magnetic disk drives. In addition to an increased presence in the data center, SSDs have begun appearing in some brands of laptops. Large SANs of traditional rotating hard drives are more commonly used for lower-latency storage needs. IBM said that it will continue to invest in and support the TMS product portfolio, and will look to integrate TMS technologies into a variety of solutions including storage, servers, software, and IBM’s own PureSystems platform. “The TMS strategy and solution set align well with our SmarterComputing approach to information technology by helping clients realize increased performance and efficiencies at lower costs,” Brian Truskowski, the general manager, of the Systems Storage and Networking group within IBM, wrote in a statement. “Solid state technology, in particular, is a critical component of our new Smarter Storage approach to the design and deployment of storage infrastructures, and part of a holistic approach that exploits flash in conjunction with disk and tape technologies to solve complex problems.” Now with TMS being snapped up and STEC possibly in play, could the enterprise SSD market begin to undergo consolidation? With an OEM like IBM buying into TMS, it seems logical to assume that other OEMs may be following suit.   Image: Jakub Pavlinec/