IBM buys solid-state storage maker Texas Memory Systems

August 16, 2012 — Electronics maker IBM (NYSE:IBM) will acquire Texas Memory Systems (TMS), a leading developer of high-performance flash memory semiconductors based in Houston, TX. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is expected to close later in 2012.  

Founded in 1978, TMS designs and sells high-performance solid-state storage products that are competitive with hard disk drives (HDDs). They can provide significantly faster throughput and data access while consuming less power than HDDs. “This acquisition will give leading solid state performance to a company that firmly believes that solid state will become a new layer between storage and memory,” said Jim Handy of analyst firm Objective Analysis.

Handy offers this history of TMS: TMS is the world’s oldest SSD maker.  The company, founded in 1976, focused on RAM-based replicas of HDDs from its inception until about four years ago when it aggressively entered the NAND storage market. Its original systems were based on SRAM, but as DRAM was introduced, it displaced the cost-prohibitive SRAM systems. When NAND prices dropped below those of DRAM, TMS followed other companies’ lead to get into NAND-based storage, tapping into its deep expertise in managing memory in a storage environment to produce top-quality products.

TMS offers its solid-state solutions as the RamSan family of shared rackmount systems and Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) cards. The products are designed to help companies improve performance and reduce server sprawl, power consumption, cooling, and floor space requirements, all of which in turn can help clients save money, improve performance and invest more in innovation.

“The TMS strategy and solution set align well with our Smarter Computing approach to information technology by helping clients realize increased performance and efficiencies at lower costs,” said Brian Truskowski, general manager, Systems Storage and Networking, IBM. “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.”

Following acquisition close, IBM plans to invest in and support the TMS product portfolio, and will look to integrate over time TMS technologies into a variety of solutions including storage, servers, software, and PureSystems offerings.

“IBM understands the positive and dramatic impact that solid state technology can have on storage and server infrastructures, and once the acquisition is complete we look forward to advancing the technology even further. With the global reach of IBM, we expect to grow the engineering staff and product lines much faster than we could before,” said Holly Frost, founder and CEO of TMS.

“The acquisition fits perfectly into IBM’s messaging on Smarter Planet, Smarter Storage, and Smarter Computing since the addition of solid state storage commonly reduces the system’s footprint, its power & cooling requirements, and other key factors that today are simply seen as side benefits after the most important feature that solid state storage offers: its sheer speed,” Handy concluded.

TMS employs approximately 100 people. TMS designs and sells solid state storage systems that accelerate demanding enterprise applications. For more information on TMS, please visit www.ramsan.com.

For more information on IBM Storage, please visit www.ibm.com/storage.

 Visit the Semiconductors Channel of Solid State Technology!

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