Flash storage vendor Fusion-io has agreed to buy IO Turbine for up to $95 million (£58 million) to extend its on-server cache products to virtualised environments.

IO Turbine provides software that allows cache storage on servers to be shared across multiple virtual machines. The software will complement Fusion-io's flash products, which use solid state storage media as a cache for heavily used data in order to minimise the amount of data that has to travel over storage networks.

Fusion-io's components have so far been limited to use with data-intensive applications in non-virtualized environments, Fusion-io Chairman and CEO David Flynn said.

"It doubles the addressable market for server-attached flash," Flynn said. "Now, there's not an application out there that can't benefit from Fusion-io."

Fusion-io will pay in cash and stock for IO Turbine, with the cash portion not to exceed $35 million. The deal is expected to close by the end of this month. Fusion-io will add about 20 employees from IO Turbine to its engineering team and about five other employees across the rest of the company.

It's a hefty purchase for Fusion-io, which went public in June, raising $218.9 million. But it should help the company tap into one of the biggest trends in enterprise computing, and could help to expand use of the data acceleration technique that Fusion-io pioneered. At the same time, competition is starting to heat up in this category.

Also this week, SSD vendor STEC announced server-attached flash products and a related software platform that it said can be used with any vendor's SSD. On Tuesday, OCZ introduced its latest line of server-attached flash components.

Fusion-io's Flynn downplayed the significance of STEC's introduction, saying that Fusion-io's products benefit from vertical integration of software, hardware and other elements. The effect is similar to that achieved by Apple, he said. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is chief scientist and a board member at Fusion-io.