Western Digital Buys SSD Firm

Arthur Cole

Western Digital may have plunked down a wad of cash for an SSD firm that specializes in embedded systems, but make no mistake about it: The company has the enterprise in its sights.

WD paid $65 million for SiliconSystems this week, which makes SSD systems for all manner of communications, industrial, medical and military applications. And while that might not seem to jibe with WD's focus on 2.5-inch drives for netbooks and other portable devices, it's important to note that SiliconSystems works with a wide variety of interfaces, including SATA, USB and CF in both 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch formats -- although nothing for SAS and Fibre Channel.

SiliconSystems will join Western Digital as the company's new Solid-State Storage business unit. And since the unit comes ready-made with products already in the channel, Western Digital instantly finds itself ahead of Seagate, which has yet to release its own SSD.

SiliconSystems also sports several lifecycle management tools for SSDs. The LifeEST system is an endurance calculation methodology, while the SiSMART system monitors performance and usage in real time. Acting together, the systems work out an individual drive's expected lifespan.

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