Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Cisco Catches Flash Madness With Whiptail Acquisition

flash_madness-featureCisco Systems just announced that it will pay $415 million for Whiptail, a maker of solid-state virtual-memory systems.

It makes the second acquisition in as many days of a company using flash-memory chips to enhance servers and other systems used in data centers. Yesterday, hard-drive maker Western Digital said it would pay $685 million to acquire Virident Systems.

Whiptail uses flash to boost the performance of computing systems in a manner similar to that of Fusion-io, the Utah-based company that supplies companies like Facebook and Apple with flash devices to boost the performance of their servers.

The deal is being seen as a blow to Fusion-io, and its shares have fallen by more than three percent this morning. Fusion has been seen as a likely target for acquisition since a management shake-up earlier this year.

Cisco will use Whiptail’s capabilities to enhance its Unified Computing Systems, a rack that combines servers, storage and networking, and which is sold into the data centers of large companies.

Cisco’s deal marks an exit for Whiptail investors, which included SanDisk, Ignition Partners, RRE Ventures and Spring Mountain Capital. Its last round was a $31 million Series C led by SanDisk, and a company that at the time was described only as an “unnamed Silicon Valley Titan.”


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work