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Texas Memory Systems Picks Incipient’s Brain

Solid-state storage performance stalwart, Texas Memory Systems (TMS), has secured access to the patents and source code of SAN virtualization pioneer, Incipient, Inc. TMS will likely use this new technology to cluster and scale their storage offerings, while Incipient remains independent for now.

Texas Memory Systems sells a line of solid-state storage systems, including PCI cards and flash and RAM-based storage arrays. In business since 1978, the company is private and boasts of having no debt or venture capital obligations. Their RAM-based RamSan systems can push hundreds of thousands of IOPS through Fibre Channel SANs but are limited in scalability. The iNSP assets from Incipient suggest that TMS will cluster these SSD devices at least. But the company could also take a surprising turn and enable intelligent storage tiering with disk-based systems, potentially from other vendors. It could also ease migration from disk-based to memory-based systems for TMS customers.

Storage virtualization technology was red hot earlier in this decade, but it was a tough sell as a standalone product. Only IBM’s SAN Volume Controller (SVC), LSI’s StoreAge (through OEMs), and F5’s ARX NAS layer (derived from their Acopia acquisition) have found real enterprise traction. So it was no surprise when we learned that Fibre Channel SAN virtualization pioneer, Incipient, was shopping around their IP assets. The company is undoubtedly for sale, but a large amount invested might make realistic 2009 prices a bitter pill to swallow for the venture firms involved.

Incipient reports that it had raised $94.6 million through five funding rounds, the latest of which was a $15.6 million re-up from existing investors in February of 2008. The company announced that it would use its iNSP SAN virtualization platform for data migrations in June of 2008 but has remained silent ever since. Another bad sign: The company’s web site lists only CEO, Ed Durkin, as the management team, and no jobs are available. Perhaps this licensing deal will give Incipient the finances it needs to arrange a sale or liquidation.

About the author

Stephen Foskett

Stephen Foskett is an active participant in the world of enterprise information technology, currently focusing on enterprise storage, server virtualization, networking, and cloud computing. He organizes the popular Tech Field Day event series for Gestalt IT and runs Foskett Services. A long-time voice in the storage industry, Stephen has authored numerous articles for industry publications, and is a popular presenter at industry events. He can be found online at TechFieldDay.com, blog.FoskettS.net, and on Twitter at @SFoskett.

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