SanDisk to buy SSD maker Pliant for $327M

Flash memory vendor looks for Pliant to give it a leg-up into the enterprise

Flash memory vendor SanDisk today agreed to acquire Pliant Technology, a maker of enterprise-class solid state drives, for about $327 million in cash.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the second 2011 quarter.

SanDisk has targeted its NAND flash products at consumers. The products include USB-based drives and flash cards for mobile devices, digital cameras, camcorders, as well as internal memory for music players and gaming systems.

Pliant sells ultra-high performance enterprise solid state drives based on the SAS protocol. The products aim to address high-performance requirements of enterprise applications.

Pliant's product roadmap also includes PCIe-based solutions for high-performance compute servers.

Pliant had previously focused exclusively on selling higher-end, single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash in its LS 300S, LS 150S LB 150S SSD products. Last fall, the company began using lower-cost multi-level cell (MLC) NAND in enterprise SSDs.

SanDisk CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said Pliant's enterprise-class expertise will quickly give the vendor a leg up into that business.

"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," he said in a statement.

Joseph Unsworth, research director at Gartner, said the enterprise SSD market is poised for growth, with revenue projected to reach $4.2 billion in 2015, up from $994 million in 2010.

"This trajectory is fueled by the expanding use of MLC NAND technology, which will require extensive flash management expertise to ensure successful adoption in enterprise applications," he said.

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