This came out of the blue. Samsung announced their intent to acquire NVELO, known for their Dataplex SSD caching software. Price or specific timeframe of the acquisition have not been revealed yet, but the acquisition does include all NVELO technology and personnel.

NVELO as a company may be a new acquaintance for many as it was founded only two years ago as a spin-off from Denali Software, which was acquired by Cadence in June 2010. While NVELO has not been around for long, the company is full of experience as most of the employees worked over a decade for Denali before the acquisition. In fact, Dataplex development began in 2007 when Denali was still a standalone company.

There are several products in the market that use NVELO's Dataplex software such as OCZ's Synapse, Corsair's Accelerator and Crucial's Adrenaline SSDs. Dataplex is essentially an alternative to Intel's Smart Response Technology (SRT) but with fewer limitations. For example, Dataplex is not tied to any specific chipsets, making it a viable option for AMD based setups and older systems without Intel's SRT support. There is also no 64GB cache size limitation like in Intel's SRT, although most of the SSDs that are bundled with Dataplex are 64GB or smaller. Whether it's worth it to use an SSD bigger than 64GB for caching is a different question, but at least there is an option for that. We have played around with NVELO's Dataplex in our labs but we haven't thoroughly reviewed it (yet).

While at least I didn't expect this acquisition, it does make a lot of sense. SSD prices have come down significantly in the last few years but we still aren't at a point where SSDs can replace hard drives in mainstream products. However, the difference an SSD makes is just so substantial that there is no reason not to want an SSD. The advantage of caching is that you can have SSD-like performance with plenty of storage without breaking the bank. Samsung doesn't have any consumer-grade SSD caching products, so with the acquisition it seems that Samsung is interested in entering that market. Why Samsung chose to acquire NVELO instead of just licensing the Dataplex software is a good question, but it's possible that Samsung wants to develop something in the house instead of using a commercially available solution (given the significant vertical integration already present in their SSDs, this wouldn't be a surprise). The acquisition may also be a way to eliminate competition because Samsung can force the competitors to get out of the SSD caching market or to use another solution (assuming Samsung makes Dataplex proprietary). 

Source: NVELO Press Release

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  • nbatothemax - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    64GB should suffice most people for caching considering most have between 500GB - 1TB of storage, once it gets over 1TB of storage that is mostly full, 128GB would definitely seem useful because there are many more files being accessed. Reply
  • Kristian Vättö - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    It really depends on what kind of data we are talking about. If you just have tons of videos and pictures (i.e. infrequently accessed static data), then it's unlikely that a bigger cache drive would significantly help. An example of the opposite would be games for instance, those are usually accessed more often and can easily take hundreds of GBs.

    However, at >64GB it becomes questionable whether the SSD should be a standalone volume instead of a cache. A cache drive is of course easier in use (just one volume) but there is less control.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    The reason I hate Dataplex is that it only allows you to cache your boot drive. I already have a SSD for my boot drive, so Intel's RST ended up being the better option. Reply
  • CDmage - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    thats not true anymore, since version 1.204 u can cache second hardrive, and have true SSD as a boot. I have such config now, caching my 1TB Steam inventory. Reply
  • UpSpin - Sunday, December 16, 2012 - link

    In a Laptop/Ultrabook you realise caching with a mSATA SSD. However, you can get a 128GB mSATA SSD for a low price already, which is plenty for your OS and programs. Then you add a second HDD for your data. In the end you have more space with SSD and HDD than with a caching SSD and a HDD containing both data and system files, so data loss more likely, too.

    In a tablet you have a SSD, a HDD is too big, power hungry, and noisy, no caching possible.

    In a smartphone you have eMMC cards, no caching required/possible, too.

    In a desktop most also just install a 128GB/256GB SSD as primary disk.

    I'm sorry, but I see no reason for a caching SSDs. They would have been great two or three years ago, but nowadays SSDs which fit OS and programs are reasonable priced.

    Maybe they want to use SSD caching in tablets and smartphones. Use slow but cheap eMMC cards for storage and have a 8GB caching SSD. But then it's also possible that it's cheaper to just use a SSD instead of eMMC at all.
    Reply
  • LordConrad - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    You're thinking of us technically minded people. Caching is mostly for the common person who doesn't know, or want to know, about using multiple hard drives. These people use their computer as-is from the manufacturer, making very few changes along the way. Hard drive caching is great for these people, because it gives them a faster experience without adding additional hard drives. Reply
  • spazoid - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    Rats! Samsung should've consulted you first. You could've saved them a lot of money! I'm sure the multi-billion dollar company that's one of the leading SSD manufacturers in the entire world hadn't thought of these points you're mentioning.

    Your acquisition does not make sense, Samsung!

    In all seriousness though, it'll be interesting to see which kinds of products Samsungs intends on making with the IP they gain from this acquisition.
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - link

    > In a desktop most also just install a 128GB/256GB SSD as primary disk.

    Just because "most" do it doesn't make it smart. For the price of a 256 GB SSD you can easily get a 64 GB cache SSD and a 3 TB HDD. That's gold for anyone needing considerably more than 256 GB.
    Reply
  • jonjonjonj - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    didn't samsung sell their hdd company to seagate? the seagate website says samsung and seagate have a "strategic alignment". so is samsung going to be making hybrid drives with seagate? Reply
  • Doh! - Monday, December 17, 2012 - link

    Samsung owns about 10% of Seagate and serves on their board. An agreement is also in place in which Samsung guarantees a supply of flash memory to Seagate. In case of hybrid drives, Seagate will more likely to be the manufacturer, not Samsung. Reply

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