SanDisk has confirmed that it will purchase solid state drive (SSD) developer Pliant Technology for $327m (£201m) as the SSD market continues to heat up.
California-based Pliant Technology has 80 employees and builds solid state storage devices based on the SAS protocol. SanDisk touts the firm as a front-runner in multi-level cell (MLC) NAND technology.
"SanDisk aims to combine its large-scale MLC memory production with Pliant's technology and enterprise-level system expertise," said Sanjay Mehrotra, SanDisk president and chief executive.
"Our advanced flash technology roadmap and flash management capability will complement Pliant's strengths and allow us to lead the way in reliability and performance in the enterprise SSD market."
The SSD market is thriving on the back of strong demand from the enterprise market. Sales grew by 93 per cent in 2010 and generated $4.4bn (£2.7bn), according to analysts at IHS iSuppli.
Estimates suggest that the overall market will be worth over $7.2bn (£4.4bn) within the next three years, and competition is becoming fierce.
Seagate purchased Samsung's hard drive division last month, while Western Digital snapped up Hitachi GST in March to consolidate its place as the world's largest hard drive manufacturer.
Daniel Bizo, research analyst from IDC's European Storage Group, suggested that the acquisition will give SanDisk valuable intellectual property and access to a fast-growing market.
"SanDisk has been traditionally strong on the consumer and business client market for memory products, including SSDs, but enterprise SSDs used in server and storage systems have to meet very different standards that require more extensive engineering," he told V3.co.uk.
"With the acquisition of Pliant Technology SanDisk is in a much better position to leverage this growth opportunity in the datacentre."
Joseph Unsworth, research director at Gartner agreed that this is good move for SanDisk.
"However, building enterprises SSDs is not like making consumer products. This process typically takes between nine months to a year and requires an intimate understanding with OEMs to address customer needs," he said.
"To ensure SanDisk makes an impact in the SSD market, the firm will have to dedicate resources to this division as well as provide support and services once products are released."
With Toshiba, Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and STEC also in the market, competition will remain tough, Unsworth continued.
"However, Pliant is a good purchase and if SanDisk can give it the scale necessary to compete, other firms will regret missing out on the acquisition."
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