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(Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune) Fusion-io's offices in Cottonwood Heights, Utah Thursday, March 8, 2012. SanDisk is set to acquire the company for $1.1B.
Utah’s Fusion-io introduces cloud solution for small companies
Tech » Salt Lake City business says cloud-based firms can handle traffic like Facebook, Apple.
First Published Jan 16 2013 07:25 am • Last Updated May 05 2013 11:32 pm

Cottonwood Heights-based Fusion-io is putting the online power of Facebook and Apple into the hands of startup companies.

The high-tech enterprise that develops solid-state memory products for businesses introduced Wednesday a memory accelerator card and software solution for small businesses that allows startups to store and stream data to huge numbers of customers. The announcement is expected to come at the Open Compute Summit in Santa Clara, Calif.

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The Fusion ioScale is a computer card for servers that can store terabytes of information, ranging from movie and music files to documents or other critical data, so customers by the thousands can access them. It’s the same kind of technology and similar hardware and software that companies such as Facebook and Pandora use to stream digital photos and music. But now, Fusion-io is making that solution available at a much cheaper price for smaller companies.

"Before, you had to be a pretty large company to get them. We’re making them available in small quantities for startups," said Rick White, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Fusion-io. "We’ve never sold it before to the general public. It was only under contract with the larger companies."

Fusion-io was a basement startup established more than six years ago by White and company chairman and CEO David Flynn. It produces solid-state technologies for company servers because the duo saw the need to use faster, more reliable flash-based memory over the slower mechanical drives that use magnetic platters.

It’s a move that proved lucrative. Fusion-io’s products are sold by companies such as IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, and are used by other top companies, including Facebook, Apple and Salesforce.com. The company has become a global business with a market capitalization of $2.03 billion, and it recently built an 80,000-square-foot sales office in San Jose. Fusion-io reported first-quarter revenue for its fiscal year of $118.1 million, up 59 percent from the same quarter of 2012.

The company has created a platform of hardware and software called ioMemory that speeds up the delivery of digital data from company servers to its customers. That ioMemory technology is the core of the new Fusion ioScale solution.

The card is about the size of a smartphone, but it does the work of thousands of older disk-based drives. So, a small company can install just a hundred of them on a rack of server computers, and it can handle hundreds of thousands of customers at the same time. At a cost of $3.89 per gigabyte (the cards come in different storage sizes up to 3.2 terabytes, or 3,276 gigabytes), it’s three times less expensive than Fusion’s enterprise solution, White said.

"We’ve got this product and we’re designing it so even the small Web and cloud companies can be competitive and deliver fast data," he said. "We hope this can start up a whole new generation of cloud companies."

The company’s stock closed Wednesday at $21.91 per share, up 73 cents, and was up another 47 cents at midday Wednesday.

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