IBM buys into flash craze with Texas Memory acquisition

IBM(s ibm) is buying Texas Memory Systems, a privately held flash memory maker. Houston-based TMS is known for its RamSan rack-mount flash storage line.. IBM already offered SSD from third parties in some of its storage systems and servers, although a spokesman said TMS was not one of those sources.

There is no doubt that flash or solid-state memory is a hot commodity with industry giants like IBM and EMC(s emc) buying up expertise. EMC purchased XTremeIO last spring for a reported $430 million.

At the same time, startups are attacking the opportunity without legacy strings attached. One of those young companies, Pure Storage, just netted an impressive $40 million in venture capital to pursue its all-flash vision. Skyera, another new entrant espousing all-flash-all-the-time, came out of stealth this week.

These companies are pushing the cost of flash storage down — getting it closer to that of slower but cheaper hard drives. However, as many GigaOM commenters have pointed out, price parity is not there yet. Gleb Budman, CEO of Backblaze, which offers inexpensive cloud-based data backup, would love to go all-flash but the economics are not there yet, he said but added  they’re getting closer.

IBM said it will integrate Texas Memory flash into its new PureSystems line of converged data center hardware.

Terms of the deal, due to close later this year, were not disclosed.