Monday, December 17, 2012

AnandTech Article Channel

AnandTech Article Channel

Samsung Acquires SSD Caching Company NVELO

Posted: 16 Dec 2012 08:36 AM PST

This came out of the blue. Samsung announced their intent to acquire NVELO, known for their Dataplex SSD caching software. Price or specific timeframe of the acquisition have not been revealed yet, but the acquisition does include all NVELO technology and personnel.

NVELO as a company may be a new acquaintance for many as it was founded only two years ago as a spin-off from Denali Software, which was acquired by Cadence in June 2010. While NVELO has not been around for long, the company is full of experience as most of the employees worked over a decade for Denali before the acquisition. In fact, Dataplex development began in 2007 when Denali was still a standalone company.

There are several products in the market that use NVELO's Dataplex software such as OCZ's Synapse, Corsair's Accelerator and Crucial's Adrenaline SSDs. Dataplex is essentially an alternative to Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) but with fewer limitations. For example, Dataplex is not tied to any specific chipsets, making it a viable option for AMD based setups and older systems without Intel's SRT support. There is also no 64GB cache size limitation like in Intel's SRT, although most of the SSDs that are bundled with Dataplex are 64GB or smaller. Whether it's worth it to use an SSD bigger than 64GB for caching is a different question, but at least there is an option for that. We have played around with NVELO's Dataplex in our labs but we haven't thoroughly reviewed it (yet).

While at least I didn't expect this acquisition, it does make a lot of sense. SSD prices have come down significantly in the last few years but we still aren't at a point where SSDs can replace hard drives in mainstream products. However, the difference an SSD makes is just so substantial that there is no reason not to want an SSD. The advantage of caching is that you can have SSD-like performance with plenty of storage without breaking the bank. Samsung doesn't have any consumer-grade SSD caching products, so with the acquisition it seems that Samsung is interested in entering that market. Why Samsung chose to acquire NVELO instead of just licensing the Dataplex software is a good question, but it's possible that Samsung wants to develop something in the house instead of using a commercially available solution (given the significant vertical integration already present in their SSDs, this wouldn't be a surprise). The acquisition may also be a way to eliminate competition because Samsung can force the competitors to get out of the SSD caching market or to use another solution (assuming Samsung makes Dataplex proprietary). 

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