For much of the past year I’ve been hearing SandForce wanted to be bought. The price? $300M – $400M. A bit too rich for OCZ’s blood, but a figure that I felt wasn’t too high given the immense technological advantage that SandForce enjoyed. SandForce’s biggest issue? It needed a partner that would bring sound validation methodology and the resources to actually test SF drives. I mentioned to many players in the SSD and HDD space that they should simply buy SandForce and make this easier on everyone. Today LSI announced that it would be the company to try and do just that.
Pending the typical closing conditions and regulatory approvals, LSI will acquire SandForce for $322M in cash plus assume another $48M in unvested SF stock options. LSI isn’t much of a player in the consumer space but it hopes to use SandForce’s controllers in a go at the enterprise market. A look back at the Vertex 3 in our Intel SSD 710 review shows just how strong SandForce’s architecture can be in database server workloads. As I’ve written before, the enterprise space is where the high margin sales are and as a result many players in the SSD space are focusing on it.
For now don’t expect anything to change with regards to SF drives in the client space, but OCZ’s timing with Octane probably couldn’t have been any better.