by Brian Beeler

Panasonic To License OCZ Barefoot 3 Controller and SSD Design - EXCLUSIVE

StorageReview has come upon information that OCZ and Panasonic have formed a licensing deal to market and sell Panasonic branded Indilinx Barefoot SSDs. Panasonic is launching two SSDs initially, one dubbed Premium and one Premium Pro. The Panasonic Premium is due to ship almost immediately, the Premium Pro early 2014. The drives will be available largely in the APAC region where the Panasonic brand is very strong, with additional distribution to follow. This marks the first ever OCZ licensing deal and is a clear benefit of the Indilinx acquisition and the resulting Barefoot SSD controller technology.

The Panasonic Premium SSD comes in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities with top end read and write throughput of 540MB/s and 530MB/s and read and write IOPS of 85,000 and 90,000. More interesting than the spec sheet though is the controller behind these drives, none other than the OCZ Indilinx Barefoot (referenced incorrectly in the spec sheet as Barefore) 3; the same controller inside the recently launched OCZ Vector 150.

Careful observers will also note the Panasonic SSD uses the same case and even matches details as minute as the product label design on the back of the drive. OCZ has clearly supported Panasonic in every aspect of creating the drive. While likely to be very similar to the Vector SSDs OCZ sells, Panasonic could of course have OCZ tune the SSD via firmware or subtle hardware changes to make their drives appropriate for the geography and markets they intend to sell in to. There is no indication yet as to what exactly the Premium Pro will entail, but it's likely an over-provisioned drive that is tuned for performance enthusiasts. 

While neither party has yet announced the licensing or partnership deal officially yet, it's logical to assume that Panasonic wanted immediate access to the SSD market in APAC.  Rather than use a SandForce, LAMD or Marvell design, they went with OCZ, which is a tremendous validation for the Barefoot platform from a massive consumer brand. For OCZ the deal opens up greater access to the APAC region where OCZ has little market share; OCZ is much stronger in the America's and Europe.

Full details of this story are still emerging, we will update when we have more.

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