Fusion-io plans IPO; Facebook is its largest data center customer

Enterprise storage company Fusion-io filed for an initial public offering on Wednesday, but the financials reveal an outfit that's still a work in progress. Meanwhile, Facebook's data center deployment has accounted for a big chunk of Fusion-io's revenue.

Enterprise storage company Fusion-io filed for an initial public offering on Wednesday, but the financials reveal an outfit that's still a work in progress. Meanwhile, Facebook's data center deployment has accounted for a big chunk of Fusion-io's revenue.

For the six months ended Dec. 31, Fusion-io reported a net loss of $8.24 million on revenue of $58.3 million. For the same period a year earlier, Fusion-io reported a net loss of $13.2 million on revenue of $11.93 million.

Those results show a lot of growth, but relative to other tech companies that are planning to go public---Skype, LinkedIn and others---or have already gone Fusion-io looks a little green.

Nevertheless, Fusion-io has all the Wall Street heavy hitters as underwriters: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse.

Fusion-io has generated a good amount of buzz as a next-gen storage company focused on data decentralization. In a nutshell, Fusion-io's gear allows active data to be relocated to the server where it's being processed. Fusion-io's integrated software and hardware aims to boost data center efficiency. Fusion-io sells direct as well through Dell, HP, IBM and the channel.

It just so happens that storage happy Dell and HP are probably the most likely acquirers of Fusion-io down the line.

Among the key nuggets from Fusion-io's regulatory filings:

  • Facebook is Fusion-io's largest customer and the social network is in rolling out a big data center deployment.
  • The company is in the process of launching its ioSphere and directCache software, which is in customer trials. These products will be released in the second half of fiscal 2011.
  • Fusion-io depends on big deployments. For instance, Fusion-io said revenue for the three months ending March 31 will include purchases from two customers with significant data center deployments---one of them Facebook. The rub: Revenue for the quarter ending June 30 will be lower than then March quarter. The company said:

Facebook is currently our largest customer and accounted for a substantial portion of revenue during the six months ended December 31, 2010. We expect revenue from sales to Facebook and one other end-user to account for a substantial portion of revenue for the three months ending March 31, 2011, but that revenue from sales to Facebook and the other end-user will decline significantly for the three months ending June 30, 2011 as they complete their planned deployments.

  • The competition is fierce. Fusion-io said that the company competes with EMC, Hitachi, NetApp and Oracle in the future. Intel, LSI, Micron Technology, Samsung, Seagate and Western Digital are other rivals.

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