Flash-based data storage is very much in the news this week, with Western Digital acquiring Virident Systems for $645 million and Cisco Systems purchasing Whiptail for $415 million. Acquisition speculation is now focusing on Fusion-io, with some observers seeing Seagate Technology moving to buy that company. "This is actually a validation of the flash storage marketplace," says Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates. "A lot of big companies are making a bet right now that flash is going to play a larger role in data centers."