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HGST logoHGST, established in 2003 and formerly known as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (before becoming a Western Digital owned company) develops advanced hard disk drives, enterprise-class solid state drives, innovative external storage solutions and services used to store, preserve and manage the world's most valued data.

Founded by the pioneers of hard drives, HGST provides high-value storage for a broad range of market segments. For more information, please visit the company's website at

See also:- HGST links & mentions on, HGST's SSD page

who's who in SSD? - HGST - September 29, 2015

HGST was ranked #4 - in the Q2 2015 edition of the the Top SSD Company lists which is researched and published by

It was in this same quarter that published one of the most popular articles in recent years - which discussed the pressures, likely roadmap and consequences of future market consolidation in the enterprise SSD systems market.

Is HGST a contender for supplying standard box platforms viable with this model? Maybe. It depends how HGST recycles Skyera's IP (which accounted for over 1/3 of the interest in HGST's SSD IP in Q2 2015) and it will also depend on the market reaction and competitive landscape in the enterprise when that happens.

HGST has a preference for large controller SSD architecture. All 3 of its most recently acquired SSD companies - which operate in the enterprise market - had their own unique large controller architectures - which faciltate better efficiency, reliability and spike free performance than small controllers (when the small controllers are used in an array context without the benefit of 3rd generation multi-level management firmware).

That's a good thing - which provides a competitive edge - if you can maintain investment in updating the proprietary IP. But as we've seen with some other vendors - if the core controllers aren't updated with new memory paradigms (a case in point being the delay in adopting new memory by Fusion-io in the period leading up to its acquisition by SanDisk) then within a year to 18 months the proprietary arrays begin to look expensive compared to commodity SSDs.
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earlier comments:- July 28, 2014 - from the Top SSD Companies in Q2 2014.

In this quarter it was still evident that the various SSD acquisitions which HGST had made recently - were not integrated into a single coherent customer facing view of enterprise SSD offerings on HGST's web site.

But that also made it easier for external analysts to see that the majority of interest in HGST's SSD product line in this period stemmed from the interfaces and form factors it had acquired from STEC - which generated more than 2x the search activity as the PCIe SSD product line it had acquired from Virident.

It's unlikely that we will get such clarity in future quarters - until some future time when HGST starts to disclose SSD revenue by form factor (which may not happen).

Who's who in SSD? - by Zsolt Kerekes, editor - September 2013

By the time HGST eventually emerged through the nearly year long delay of HDD-related market regulatory compliance hurdles in March 2012 (which had been triggered by WD agreeing to acquire it from Hitachi) HGST's already weak and late to market SAS SSD product line was looking even more tired and unattractive in comparison to leading competitors in the enterprise SSD race than it already had done when this storage drive acquisition marathon began.

One confirmatory indication of this being that (unlike WD itself) HGST had never appeared in the Top SSD Companies List throughout the 6 year period from 2007 upto the middle of 2013. (Later:- HGST's 1st appearance in the Top SSD Companies List occured after this comment - based on metrics in the 3rd quarter of 2013 - at #18.)

Recently, however, the potential market reach of of HGST's enterprise SSD IP assets has been greatly augmented by a series of acquisitions among which are the following companies. If successful - the cumulative impact of HGST's reprocessing of all the enterprise SSD IP which will soon be at its disposal - could fundamentally change the way that WD is regarded within the SSD market of the future - as "pre-HGST" and "post-HGST" eras.
selected HGST milestones - from SSD Market History.

In November 2010 - Hitachi said it was sampling 3.5" FC SSDs and 2.5" SAS SSDs with upto 400GB SLC capacity and 535MB/s read and 500MB/s write throughput (6Gb/s SAS) 46,000 / 13,000 R/W IOPS.

In March 2011 - WD announced it will acquire Hitachi GST for approximately $4.3 billion. Although the primary motive is hard drives - the companies said they would put more resources into SSDs too.

In March 2012 - WD completed its acquisition of HGST - which will retain its brand identity and operate as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Also in this month - HGST announced that its 2.5" SAS SLC SSD product - the Ultrastar SSD400S - is now shipping in EMC's VNX iSCSI arrays.

In June 2013 - WD announced that it had agreed to acquire Stec for approximately $340 million. Stec will be absorbed into HGST.

In July 2013 - WD announced it had acquired VeloBit (an SSD software company operating in the SSD auto-caching market).

In September 2013 - WD's enterprise SSD subsidiary - HGST announced it would acquire Virident Systems for approximately $685 million in cash.
"Back in 2003 all enterprise acceleration SSDs were RAM SSDs. Now - 10 years later - nearly all enterprise SSDs are flash. But what kind of flash?"
sugaring flash for the enterprise
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"How much write endurance is enough? given that worst case write endurance wear out in our own (best of breed) enterprise SSDs is between 14 months to 11 years - depending on the model... Meanwhile other data failure factors may be even more important in some applications - such as power off data retention of just 3 months at 40 degrees C... Continued customer education is needed."
The SSD Endurance Race: Who's Got the Write Stuff? (pdf) - by Ulrich Hansen Director of Market Development, HGST - (August 2012) - presentation at the Flash Memory Summit
key SSD idea #7 - valuing SSD companies

Acquisitions reported in 2014 seemed to indicate that SSD companies aren't worth as much as they before.

Although there are special factors which complicate any particular analysis - as I discussed in the cases of Seagate acquiring LSI's SSD business, and SanDisk acquiring Fusion-io - it's clear that from the viewpoint of the people who matter (those with the money) an SSD company with a rich set of IP and strong market recognition in 2014 isn't generally worth as much as you might have thought if you had extrapolated from SSD company values in 2013.
updating 10 key SSD ideas in 2014

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From an SSD server storage competitive landscape perspective I think this is more significant than the EMC - Dell deal.
SanDisk hops into WDC's flash shopping basket (October 2015)
HGST samples 3TB 2.5" PCIe SSD
news image - 2.5 inch NVMe SSD - click for infoEditor:- March 11, 2015 - HGST is sampling a new range of SSDs for the 2.5" PCIe SSD market.

The 2.5" NVMe Ultrastar SN100 (pdf) has upto 3.2TB capacity.

Editor's comments:- No DWPD data was available when I looked.
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Western Digital acquires Skyera
Editor:- December 15, 2014 - Western Digital and HGST today announced the acquisition of Skyera.

Editor's comments:- This is a momentous acquisition for the enterprise SSD market.

I think the context in which to view this is as the embodiment of a new wisdom in the industry - that to succeed in the enterprise SSD market today - and to achieve the ultimate efficiencies at the manufacturing level - vendors have to think like systems companies.

And some of the biggest systems opportunities for efficient vendors nowadays - in which efficiencies translate into business opportunities are in hyperscale systems and internet infrastructure.

I've been discussing these trends in the past 18 months or so in these articles - which I think are relevant to today's acquisition announcement.
  • new directions in rackmount SSDs (May 24, 2013) - "One of the most potentially rewarding market challenges which SSD companies are grappling with right now is - how to make enterprise solid state storage attractive to users who aren't worried about their hard drive performance and don't even think they need SSDs... New SSD thinking inside the box will lead to better enterprise flash arrays."
  • meet Ken - and the enterprise SSD software event horizon (October 8, 2013) - "Why it's so easy to fall into a trap when answering these questions... How big will the SSD market will be when SSDs replace hard drives? When will it happen? and What will be the revenue of the SSD market at that time?"
  • Scary Skyera? (October 22, 2013) - "You may decide that my ratios (of enterprise SSD capacity needed to replace hard drives) are too timid - I said to Skyera's founder - if so - scare us!"
  • Seagate to acquire LSI's flash business (May 29, 2014 ) - "...even if Seagate focused only on the high volume potential of existing cloud infrastructure customers and big web entities (like Google and Baidu) - who need value based enterprise SSDs - but who are perfectly capable of designing their own software and APIs and firmware tweaks - then Seagate could... establish it as one of (several) leaders in the utility SSD segment of the cloud."
  • Skyera's new skyHawk FS (October 29, 2014) - "Re the mobile data center, new meanings to unified storage and joining storage gentlemen's clubs..."

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HGST announces 2nd generation clustering software for FlashMAX PCIe SSDs
Editor:- September 9, 2014 - HGST today announced a new improved version of the high availability clustering capability previously available in the PCIe SSD product line acquired last year from Virident.

HGST's Virident Space allows clustering of up to 128 servers and 16 PCIe storage devices to deliver one or more shared volumes of high performance flash storage with a total usable capacity of more than 38TB.

HGST says its Virident HA provides a "high-throughput, low-latency synchronous replication across servers for data residing on FlashMAX PCIe devices. If the primary server fails, the secondary server can automatically start a standby copy of your application using the secondary replica of the data."

For more details see - HGST Virident Software 2.0 (pdf)

Editor's comments:- This capability had already been demonstrated last year - and ESG reported on the technology in January 2014.

But at that time - the clustering product called vShare - was restricted to a small number of servers - and the data access fabric was restricted to Infiniband only.

With the rev 2.0 software - the number of connected devices has increased - and users also have the lower cost option of using Ethernet as an alternative supported fabric.
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WD acquires Virident
Editor:- September 9, 2013 - it was announced today that Virident Systems will be acquired by WD's enterprise SSD subsidiary - HGST for approximately $685 million in cash.

Editor's comments:- Virident is a Top 10 SSD company with its own big architecture SSD controller technology, and a market proven symmetrically scalable enterprise PCIe SSD compatible product line.

The signs that Virident was behaving like a company which might be imminently acquired (by someone) started to become clear 2 months ago. However, if anyone had put bets on who that likely acquirer would be - the most probable name which would have come up in such conversations would have been Seagate.

Following on the heels of an enterprise SSD marketwide acquisition binge in recent months - this latest move suggests that HGST will be appearing in rather more enterprise SSD shortlists than before.

It also confirms - if you had any doubts about it - that the main reason for WD wanting to acquire Stec recently - had little or nothing to do with Stec's weak PCIe SSD product line.

DWPD (Diskful Writes Per Day) for 5 years - has become an established part of SSD jargon in the writings of enterprise SSD makers in recent years.
DWPD numbers for industry leading enterprise SSDs

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