Fusion-IO Continues Its Path to Dominance in Storage Market

Apple is expanding its use of Fusion-IO. Apple’s increasing use of the Fusion-IO storage platform may move the company ahead of Facebook as Fusion-IO’s biggest customer. If you aren’t familiar with Fusion-IO, you might be soon. Some analysts are saying the company’s technology may soon become “the” defacto standard for storage in the same way that Windows and Intel transformed and then dominated the computing market.

Fusion-IO has a fairly narrow focus in the storage market. It sells flash memory components that plug into servers and act as high-performance cache However, the narrow focus hasn’t limited Fusion-IO’s success. Founded in 2005, since the company’s IPO last summer Fusion-IO’s share price has steadily increased as investors confident in Fusion-IO’s ability to command the market snapped up the stock. Earlier this month, rumors spread that Dell might be attempting to acquire the startup. .Fusion-IO’s platform is used widely by both Apple and Facebook to deliver a speedy user experience.

Use of Fusion-IO’s technology isn’t the company’s only link to Apple. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has served as Fusion-IO’s Chief Scientist since 2008. Facebook accounts for 36 percent of Fusion-IO’s revenue, 24 percent come from Apple and 14 percent from Hewlett-Packard. Fusion-IO has also added Salesforce.com and Pandora as customers. However, not everyone is enamored with Fusion-IO. The CEO of EMC lashed out at Fusion-IO saying that the company’s attitude toward flash memory, “darn right foolish.” EMC started by using flash arrays, then took a page from Fusion-io’s playbook by announcing VFcache, a PCIE-based server-side product.

Fusion’s CEO still claims Emc is a bottleneck, arguing his firm’s technology goes beyond a standard pcie connection and provides direct memory access that eliminates the overheads of disk protocols.

Critics of Fusion’s direct memory access approach, known as its VSL technology, argue that this technique requires firms to rewrite applications to take advantage of the solution.

Analysts tell SiliconAngle that this is the land grab that is going on. New cloud-based apps require new approaches to development, and a key to Fusion’s success will be its ability to get ISV’s and application developers to code to its API.

No matter what your opinion is on Fusion-IO’s strategy, clearly the company is doing something right. Almost all of the company’s customers report dramatic improvements in performance after adopting Fusion-IO’s platform. Fusion-IO’s revenue are projected to climb 82 percent over the next two years. This is the faster growth than any of the company’s competitors. Fusion-IO is a pioneer in the flash-based storage market and that gamble is paying off.


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