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
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
links & mentions on StorageSearch.com,
HGST's SSD page
HGST was ranked #7 - in
Q4 2015 edition of
the Top SSD Companies
which is researched and published by StorageSearch.com.
Will its acquisition of the #1 ranked SSD company - SanDisk - change the
market? See what I said in the sidebar article (which waswritten at the time of
the announcement in October 2015).
One lesson we've learned from
analyzing all the SSD
acquisitions from 2000 to 2016 - is that acquisitions of this scale take
time to prepare and consolidate - but the market doesn't hold its breath and
wait to see what comes out the other end. The uncertainty process assists
competitors and new startups. The big ideas now prevailing in the SSD market are
not the same as they were when this acquisition was first mooted. What are they?
Take a look at these articles below.
who's who in SSD? - HGST
editor - StorageSearch.com
- September 29, 2015
HGST was ranked #4 - in the
Q2 2015 edition of
the Top SSD Companies.
It was in this same quarter that StorageSearch.com published one of
the most popular articles in recent years - which discussed the
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
in the enterprise when that happens.
HGST has a preference for
SSD architecture. All 3 of its most recently
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
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
earlier comments:- July 28, 2014 - from
Top SSD Companies in
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
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 in SSD? - by
editor - September 2013
By the time HGST eventually emerged
through the nearly year long delay of
regulatory compliance hurdles in
(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.)
however, the potential market reach of of HGST's enterprise SSD IP assets
has been greatly augmented by a series of
among which are the following companies.
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"
was sampling 3.5"
FC SSDs and
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
March 2011 -
WD announced it
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.
its acquisition of HGST
- which will retain its brand identity and operate as a wholly owned
Also in this month -
announced that its 2.5"
product - the
SSD400S - is now shipping in EMC's
- WD announced that it
had agreed to acquire
Stec for approximately
$340 million. Stec will be absorbed into
In July 2013 -
WD announced it had
SSD software company
operating in the SSD
In September 2013 -
WD's enterprise SSD
HGST announced it would
Systems for approximately $685 million in cash.
In December 2014 - Western Digital acquired
Skyera (which at
that time was offering the highest capacity SSD racks based on its own
controller architecture and software).
- Western Digital
agreed to acquire SanDisk
for $19 billion.
|"SSD is going down! -
We're going down!"|
If you've ever watched the movie - Black Hawk
Down - there's a memorable scene in which...
sudden power loss|
|SanDisk will be a WDC
|Editor:- May 10, 2016 - SanDisk today
that the Ministry of Commerce of China has approved the acquisition of
SanDisk by Western
Digital. All necessary regulatory approvals for the acquisition have
now been received and the transaction is expected to close on Thursday, May 12,
|"The need for
reviving the SSD bookmarks
series concept after a 5 year gap is because while we're all busily dodging
tornadoes in Kansas to get to a consolidated market there's a lot of dust
making it harder than ever to see what's what."|
editor - StorageSearch.com
|SanDisk hops into WDC's
flash shopping basket |
|Editor:- October 22, 2015 - Following weeks of
speculation and leaks came the
yesterday that Western
Digital has indeed agreed to acquire SanDisk in a deal
valued at $19 billion.|
If all goes as planned the transaction is
expected to close in the 3rd calendar quarter of 2016.
comments:- From an SSD server storage competitive landscape perspective I
think this is more significant than the
Dell deal. Because it
will impact the design, availability, competitive market health and future
direction of many classic SSD product types in a far reaching way which could
only be matched if Dell were to acquire
play a big factor too.
Looking back at past acquisitions by WDC
you shouldn't expect anything to come out the other end of the digester
before the end of 2017.
And in that time - 2 years hence - many things
in the SSD market will be different.
Some of SanDisk's best known
enterprise SSD product lines (PCIe, SAS and SATA cloud) are already looking as
if they were designed for a different movie generation.
got a perfect Bogart lookalike for a remake of Casablanca, but
webscale casting is hooked on an idea more like Tyrion Lannister
in Game of Thrones.)
In PCIe server sockets SanDisk has
the curve in NVMe, while in 2.5" storage arrays - new adaptive
intelligence flow symmetry
- which is emerging in many different forms - means that in the extreme case
of cloud deployments -
a single SSD with customized firmware - can replace 2 old style SATA SSDs.
the other hand - SanDisk has more than amply demonstrated its willingness and
capability to integrate flash memory in the enterprise outside traditional SSD
comfort zones:- in server based DIMMs and analytics scale big data memory.
Those market experiments haven't generated much revenue yet but
are the early steps on a learning curve which all memory makers will have to
explore. The combination of that software capability and access to consumer
scale, low cost flash will probably be more use to WDC than any single
What happens in the meantime?
As we've seen
before in such long drawn out acquisitions - it's inevitable that some
SanDisk product developments will slow down and wither on the vine.
the other hand - there will also be pressure to accelerate new product
introductions too. You could say - it will be business as usual - but without
so many distractions coming from the investor angle.
Looking ahead to
a post WDC SanDisk...
WDC has a track record of swiftly EOLing
perfectly adequate SSD products which came bundled in the shopping basket but
didn't have high volumes and market scale.
This is a story which
you'll be reading about for a long time to come.
|Western Digital acquires
|Editor:- December 15, 2014 -
and HGST today
the acquisition of Skyera.|
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
I've been discussing these trends in the past 18
months or so in these articles - which I think are relevant to today's
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
- 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..."
|HGST announces 2nd
generation clustering software for FlashMAX PCIe SSDs|
|Editor:- September 9, 2014 - HGST today
a new improved version of the
clustering capability previously available in the
PCIe SSD product line
acquired last year from Virident.|
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 -
Virident Software 2.0 (pdf)
Editor's comments:- This
capability had already been demonstrated last year - and
ESG reported on the
technology in January
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
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