Steve Wozniak joins flash storage startup as chief scientist

Apple co-founder will help Fusion-io expand emerging flash market

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has a new gig as the chief scientist at Fusion-io, a startup that is speeding up enterprise applications with a flash memory device inserted directly into servers.

Wozniak had joined Fusion-io's advisory board last October to help the company ramp up adoption of its solid-state flash technology. Now as chief scientist he will "act as a key technical advisor to the Fusion-io research and development group" and help formulate a strategy to "accelerate the expansion of major global accounts," Fusion-io said in an announcement Thursday. A spokeswoman for Fusion-io said Wozniak's new position is full-time.

Fusion-io emerged in 2007 with the ioDrive, a PCI Express (PCIe) card loaded with flash memory that is inserted directly into servers. The company promised that the single device could deliver speeds of 100,000 I/O operations per second, the equivalent of 1,000 disk drives aggregated in a SAN. More recently, Fusion-io took its basic PCIe architecture and added two network-interface ports, allowing the device to make flash memory available to all servers in a network. (Compare server products)

Fusion-io is working with IBM on Project Quicksilver, the goal of which is to create a solid-state storage device using flash memory that can deliver data transfer speeds of more than 1 million input/output operations per second.ioXtreme device, designed to speed up high-end PCs.

The company has also made its technology available to consumers with the

Wozniak, 58, founded Apple with Steve Jobs and created some of the earliest personal computers. He hasn't been a full-time employee at Apple since 1987; in the meantime he has been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame and co-founded wireless GPS company Wheels of Zeus, which closed in 2006.

In a statement released by Fusion-io, Wozniak compared Fusion-io's innovation with the emergence of the home PC market that he helped pioneer.

"With the revolutionary technological advances being made by Fusion-io, the company is in the right place at the right time with the right technology and ready to direct the history of technology into the 21st century and beyond," Wozniak said. "The technology marketplace has not seen such capacity for innovation and radical transformation since the mainframe computer was replaced by the home computer. Fusion-io's technology is extremely useful to many different applications and almost all of the world's servers."

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