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NAND flash memory vendor Fusion-io files for IPO

Firm files with SEC in effort to raise $150 million; Fusion-io has raised $115 million as private firm

March 9, 2011 12:14 PM ET

Computerworld - Fusion-io, a maker of NAND flash memory cards that enhance the performance of data center servers, announced Wednesday that it plans an initial public offering it hopes can raise $150 million.

The company has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Salt Lake City-based Fusion-io makes specialized NAND flash cards designed to boost server throughput up to 278,000 I/Os per second while offering up to 1.28TB of data storage capacity.

Most NAND flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) shipping today mimic hard drives in form factor and serial ATA connectivity. On the other hand, Fusion-io's ioDrive consists of NAND flash and a controller on a PCI Express (PCIe) expansion card. The PCIe technology offers throughput of up to 128Gbit/sec, while SATA tops out at 6Gbit/sec today.

Dell and Samsung, the world's leading supplier of NAND flash chips, are major investors in Fusion-io, which has has raised about $115.5 million in three rounds of private funding.

The company stated in its IPO filing that it had shipped more than 20 petabytes of flash-based memory to date.

Fusion-io competes with Violin Memory, Israeli start-up Anobit Technologies and Xiotech Corp. in offering SSD or flash cards that accelerate server performance.

Fusion-io declined comment on its IPO bid.

Xiotech's chief marketing officer, Brian Reagan, said that what Fusion-io is doing is innovative and underscores a major pain point for corporations struggling with growing data and performance issue related to Web 2.0 applications.

"It presents an opportunity for companies like Fusion-IO in their segment, and for companies like Xiotech in cloud and big data, where a balance of capacity and performance is critical and the pain is just as much, if not more pronounced," he said.

The number of shares to be offered and the price range have not yet been determined. Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley & Co. are acting as lead active joint book-runners for the proposed offering, and J.P. Morgan Securities and Credit Suisse Securities are acting as passive joint book-runners.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at Twitter@lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed Mearian RSS. His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

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