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LSI Lassos SiliconStor

Chip vendor LSI Logic has acquired semiconductor startup SiliconStor in a $55 million deal as it attempts to link Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Serial ATA (SATA). (See LSI Pays $55M for SiliconStor.)

The all-cash transaction, expected to close in the first quarter of 2007, highlights the growing demand from users for tiered storage. (See Qualcomm, What's the Best Way to Set Up Tiered Storage?, Tiers Without Tears, and B&S Insider: SAS and SATA Report.)

SiliconStor sells multiplexer chips that connect SAS and SATA drives and was first identified as acquisition bait almost two years ago. (See SiliconStor Socks Away $9M.) The device, which is called an AAMUX, provides a dual port path between SATA drives and a SAS controller. (See SiliconStor Intros Multiplexer and SiliconStor Samples SATA.)

The SiliconStor deal is small potatoes compared to LSI's recent $4 billion acquisition of chip vendor Agere Systems, although it reflects the current trend towards mixing high-performance SAS and low-cost SATA in the same array. (See A New Landscape for Disk and LSI to Buy Agere for $4B.)

Users, according to Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Mark Bowker, are seriously eyeing the possibilities of mixed storage. "There's no question that interest is growing," he explains. "SAS can offer the similar performance of Fibre Channel whereas SATA is less expensive and larger capacity."

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