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Storage news - 2008, October week 3

OnPATH Technologies Unveils Industry's Largest Fibre Channel Switch

Marlton, NJ - October 21, 2008 - OnPATH Technologies today introduced its first 8Gbps Fibre Channel switch module.

The new module supports up to 12 multi-rate Fibre-Channel ports and can be scaled up to 1,536 8Gb FC ports in one non-blocking switch. ...OnPATH Technologies profile, SAN switches

Toshiba Samples Bigger 2.5" Car Drive .
IRVINE, Calif. - October 21, 2008 - Toshiba is sampling its first 80GB SATA automotive-grade HDD - a 2.5" form factor drive which spins at 4,200 RPM.

Toshiba's latest model features an operating altitude specification of 5,500 meters and supports an operating temperature range of -30º to 85º Celsius. The MK8057GSC also can withstand operational shock of 300G, providing a rugged and dependable storage solution for automobiles operating through extreme temperatures and terrain. ...Toshiba profile, 2.5" SSDs, Hard disk drives, Military Storage

Samsung Gazes Wistfully at Future SSD Pie in the Sky

Editor:- October 20, 2008 - a report in says that Samsung would like its SSD revenue to be $5 Billion in 2012.

My own view is that it's unrealistic, given the critical gaps in Samsung's IP, the weaknesses in its marketing and the strength of competition in the SSD market. Samsung will need a much better understanding of routes to market and branding to achieve half of this. Focusing on mediocre products and low pricing won't do it. the article, ...Samsung profile

SanDisk May Offload Fab Costs to Toshiba after Announcing Sustained Decline in Revenue

Milpitas, CA, - October 20, 2008 - SanDisk Corp , today announced results for the 3rd quarter ended September 28, 2008, and a plan to restructure joint venture operations with Toshiba.

Total Q3 revenue was $821 million, a decrease of 21% on a year-over-year basis. Net loss in accordance with GAAP was $155 million.

SanDisk also announced today an agreement neabling it to sell 30% of its shared wafer fab capacity to Toshiba which could reduce its equipment lease obligations by approximately $1 billion. However, SanDisk and Toshiba will continue to be equal partners for the approximately 70%capacity of the fabs that remain in the joint ventures. ...SanDisk profile

Analyst comments:-
from - Jim Handy, Objective Analysis

This assets-for-cash swap will bolster SanDisk's coffers during a time when the company's stock price is depressed, but their cash position was not desperate during their last earnings announcement. Why would SanDisk be interested in an infusion of cash at this moment?

We can only guess that this cash might be used to repurchase depressed SanDisk shares whose price dropped on this news from around $16.50 last week to just under $14 at the writing of this Alert. SanDisk could use this measure to help thwart Samsung's takeover bid, remaining independent until 2009's NAND recovery drives its stock back to record levels.

Ever since Samsung made public its desire to acquire SanDisk (Sept 17) the industry has been abuzz with rumors of a Toshiba takeover. Although the SanDisk/Toshiba partnership would do better without a Samsung acquisition, Toshiba made it clear that a takeover was not in the cards. This move appears to be the company's alternative.

Ideas for Better Storage Marketing?

Editor:- October 20, 2008 - when business conditions get tough storage vendors are forced to think about new ways to generate interest in their products.

As a result I'm seeing more advertising inquiries and also getting more questions about PR. Many years ago I created FAQs pages for storage marketers, and it might be useful to mention them again.
  • PR FAQs (can be summarized as - editors aren't telepathic) and
  • PR errors (summarized as - don't insult the intelligence of our readers).
These PR guides actually go into a lot of detail - which can help vendors communicate better with all publications, not just ours.

I discussed some of the fundamental rethinking that marketers may have to do in a recent article on MarketingViews.

In a market where nearly all products look the same and use similar technologies - the knee jerk reaction of vendors is to differentiate products by price. But too often when I check the validity of incoming "amazing price" stories - I find that they have no substance.

Services are another differentiator for vendors - which involve more mental investment by vendors to create products which offer more convenience to buyers. To be successful they must solve real needs. Too often (due to inadequate market research) new service products are marketed to solve problems which users don't have, or which users don't rate highly.

Another type of differentiation is branding. Attaching animal names to storage products is intended to transfer mental images about attributes like speed, strength, size, cuteness etc from the animal to the product.My article animal brands and metaphors in the Storage Market lists about 100 examples - and is a good resource for anyone tasked with making their products sound better. All the best animals have gone. But that doesn't stop vendors recycling the gene pool.

How about Excellence in Storage? - Not all products are created equal. In a recession - excellent products have an intrinsic edge. I'll be returning to this subect with an article in a few weeks which will examine excellence in SSD designs.

AMI Announces Successor to BIOS

ATLANTA, GA - October 20, 2008 - AMI announces the release of AMIDiag for UEFI, a complete OEM diagnostics software package for computer manufacturing, testing and service.

Based on AMI's award-winning diagnostics for DOS and Microsoft Windows, AMIDiag for UEFI provides a robust and comprehensive software platform for testing for computer hardware including CPU, memory, audio, video and USB devices. A definite advantage over traditional Windows-based diagnostics is that tests are performed from the EFI Shell within the UEFI Boot Services layer, allowing direct access to the hardware with no interference from operating system drivers or programs. This simplifies the testing process and improves the reliability of the results.

"AMI is proud to be the first in bringing to market a complete, native manufacturing-level diagnostics software for the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface," said S. Shankar, President and CEO of American Megatrends. "AMIDiag for UEFI is a rich testing platform supporting the latest CPUs and technologies from Intel and AMD. AMIDiag for UEFI provides native UEFI diagnostics that build on the stability, usability and performance developed through many years of joint work with primary UEFI promoters as well as feedback from OEM users." ...AMI profile, Storage Testers & Analyzers

A-DATA Ships DDR2-800G Memory Kits

Taipei, Taiwan - October 17, 2008 - A-DATA Technology Co., Ltd. has recently released its Gaming Series DDR2-800G kits.

The 1GB/2GB single channel and 2GB/4GB dual channel module kits are tested at 800MHz and are aimed at the PC gamers market - estimated to be over 260 million people.

All memory chips are verified using overclocking criteria for better quality. ...A-DATA profile
A-DATA gaming memory kits

Hitachi Employs Marketing Company to Grow EMEA

HAVANT, UK – October 16, 2008 - Hitachi GST today announced the signing of an agreement with HK Consulting FZE to expand the company's local presence in Africa and the Middle East.

Based in Dubai, HK Consulting will provide product promotion services, working closely with distributors, resellers and integrators to increase demand for Hitachi hard drives across the region. ...Hitachi profile, Storage VARs in the UK

Intel Starts Shipping Fast 2.5" SATA flash SSDs

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - October 15, 2008 - Intel Corp has begun shipping the X-25E - a fast 2.5" SATA SLC flash SSD.

Available now with 32GB capacity, a 64GB version will sample later this quarter.

The SLC SSD is fast. Read latency is 75 microseconds and a 10 parallel channel architecture enables it to sustain R/W throughputs of 250 / 170 MB/s. Random IOPS performance is impressive with a 10 to 1 R/W ratio which is inline with the best designed enterprise flash SSDs. Using 4kB blocks - random R/W IOPS are 35,000 and 3,300 respectively.

You don't have to do endurance calculations for this product. Intel, aiming at the enterprise server market has done them for you and says the 32GB X25-E is capable of writing up to 4PB of data over 3 year period (3.7 TB/day), and double that for the 64GB version. ...Intel profile, the Fastest SSDs, 2.5" SSDs

iSCSI vs FCoE Article in The Register

Editor:- October 15, 2008 - The Register has published a new article called -"iSCSI: Game Over?"

In it author Chris Mellor discusses how emerging vendor support for FCoE (the first adapters were shipped exactly a year ago) might ultimately affect the iSCSI market. Even if you're already heavily commited to fibre-channel SANs or the various flavors of NAS and have no plans to change soon - the article makes interesting reading.

Verari Announces Intel-SSD-Inside Hybrid Storage Blade

DALLAS, TX. - October 15, 2008 - Verari Systems today announced HyDrive, a hybrid enterprise storage blade.

The new Verari HyDrive disk blade integrates Intel's X25-E 2.5" SSD as well as high capacity 3.5" SATA hard drives into Verari's BladeRack 2 X-Series platforms. ...Verari Systems profile, rackmount SSDs, Hybrid Storage Drives

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is Recession - the New Green?
Editor:- with banks failing or merging on a daily basis - I thought it might be time to look again at my article- "Is the SSD Market Recession-Proof?"

That got me thinking... What about the rest of the storage market?

You may think that - like death and taxes - the need to buy ever more storage is inevitable. And surprisingly we haven't seen a downturn yet in the rotating disk storage market. An IDC report published earlier this month said that the external disk storage market grew 17% year-over-year in the 2nd quarter of 2008. But - as with stock markets - heed my warning. The past doesn't predict the future.

The storage market is not imune.

Due to mergers in the financial markets there will soon be a flood of "nearly new" enterprise storage systems and servers flowing into the broker / recycling market - just as when the dotcom bubble bust. The impact may not hit new storage sales immediately - but users don't need to buy factory fresh rotating disk arrays if they can pick up identical products at a quarter of the price in an auction.

I have no doubt that we'll read a lot more about "recession-proof " products, strategies and trends in the next few months.
Green storage article "Recession" will become the new "Green" for PR writers. It won't be possible to see a news story or article which doesn't include a liberal sprinkling of the R word.

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