Samsung acquires flash caching software developer Proximal

Proximal's AutoCache product aims to remove I/O bottlenecks in virtualized server environments

Samsung Electronics has acquired Proximal Data, a developer of software that caches I/O in the server virtualization layer, to boost its SSD offering in the server market.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Proximal in San Diego, California, offers AutoCache, which attaches inside standard hypervisors such as VMware ESXi, where it inspects I/O from all virtual machines and places hot I/O into a local PCIe flash card or SSD. Embedded intelligence provides hot reads back to virtual machines that request them, without needing the system administrator to modify the deployed storage or VM infrastructure, according to a product brief.

Its CEO and founder Rory Bolt was involved in three startups, including as CTO of enterprise-class data protection software company, Avamar Technologies, which was sold to EMC in 2006 for US$165 million. Bolt said in a statement Sunday that after the acquisition, AutoCache will be enhanced and new products in enterprise storage will be developed.

Proximal said on its website that the software was developed to address I/O bottlenecks, a big barrier in virtualized server environments. AutoCache is said to efficiently cache I/O in the server virtualization layer while minimizing the use of system resources "without guest OS agents." The software works with standard flash PCIe cards or SSDs in virtualized servers, such as Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware ESXi.

Samsung said the acquisition will help expand its SSD business in the server and data center markets. The company acquired Nvelo in Santa Clara, California, in 2012, a privately held company that specialized in SSD caching. Samsung has offered the Nvelo technology for its branded SSDs since last year, it said.

The South Korean company evidently sees software as a key differentiator, even as it focuses on newer NAND technologies at the chip level.

Samsung said in October it had started mass production of its 3-bit, multi-level-cell (MLC), three-dimensional vertical NAND flash memory for use in SSDs. The 3D V-NAND technology achieves higher density with 32 vertically stacked cell layers per NAND memory chip for a total of 128 gigabits of storage per chip.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for more information, including on how much it paid for Proximal.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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