NetApp brings Fusion-io server flash storage into the fold

NetApp(s ntap), a leading maker of storage appliances, now wants to manage third-party storage, including server-side flash from Fusion-io(s fio). And that’s what it’s doing with its new Flash Accel software.

This is just the latest push by storage makers to reach out beyond their own islands of data center hardware to manage and administer third party products in a more holistic fashion.

The goal of this deal is to speed up application performance by converting server flash into “hot” data storage for important applications.

Flash Accel is part of NetApp’s Virtual Storage Tiering effort. A few weeks ago, NetApp announced a partnership with Fusion-io, the hot selling server cache company, and this is the first tangible detail to emerge from that relationship. NetApp will demonstrate Flash Accel next week at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco.

No doubt there is a flash feeding frenzy going on. In the last week alone Nimbus Data unveiled its new Gemini flash storage array; stealthy startup Skyera talked up its plans to bring flash storage costs down to a promised $3 per GB; IBM(s ibm) said it was buying flash pioneer Texas Memory Systems and  Pure Storage disclosed $40 million in brand new venture capital to fund its flash onslaught.

Both NetApp and arch-rival EMC(s emc), which bought flash player EXtremeIO earlier this year, are coming to terms with flash storage, which is faster but more expensive than hard drives. In that vein, look for more deals to come.

Feature photo courtesy of  Flicker user zmmrc