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Digital - mentions on StorageSearch.com
who's who in SSD? - Western Digital
editor - StorageSearch.com
- June 2016
Western Digital's presence in the SSD market has
developed by means of 7 successive acquisitions of SSD companies (so far).
I think it is inevitable - given the changes now taking place in the
market, WDC's past failures to organically grow its own SSD IP base, and the
growing gap which WDC has in the SSD market (particularly in the DIMM
wars and NVMe markets) that more SSD companies and technologies will need to
be acquired by WDC in the next 2 years.
Until May 2016 WDC's main
surrogate and recycler of SSD IP within the enterprise SSD market was its
subsidiary HGST. But the acquisition of
SanDisk which closed in
May 2016 brings
with it a bigger quantity and range of SSD product lines and technologies than
any of the previous acquisitions which were managed by HGST. I think that the
scale of the SanDisk acquisition will mean that readjustments will have to be
made about the roles of the various brands now under the control of WDC.
wouldn't be surprised to see readjustments in the brands, With the stongest
candidate in each case being repurposed for big markets such as consumer,
enterprise and cloud.
WDC's key SSD acquisitions - from
For clarity - Western Digital is shown as the acquiring
company below - although in some cases - the acquisitions were done by WDC's SSD
In March 2009 -
entered the SSD market by acquiring
for $65 million in a cash transaction. SiliconSystems was a
Top SSD Company in
the industrial SSD
market. WDC didn't continue the development of the acquired product line
into the MLC industrial era.
March 2011 -
announced it would acquire
HGST for approximately
$4.3 billion. Although the primary motive was
hard drives - the
companies said they would put more resources into SSDs too. The acquisition
took a year to complete, and as a result WDC acquired a
SAS SSD product line.
- Western Digital
announced it had agreed to buy
Stec for approximately
$340 million. Stec at the time had a market proven but ageing
SAS SSD product line
and an established market presence in the
military SSD markets.
WDC didn't maintain the military and industrial SSD product lines after the
In July 2013 -
announced it had acquired
SSD software company
operating in the SSD
In September 2013 -
Systems (a leading PCIe
SSD company) for approximately $685 million in cash.
In December 2014 -
Skyera - which at
that time - due to its unique
architecture - had a commanding lead in rackmount storage capacity density
in the petabyte SSD
market. WDC almost immediately after the acquisition end of lifed Skyera's
product line. And although it is not yet clear where the acquired systems IP
will be used - it has many possible applications within cloud focused rackmount
2015 - Western
Digital agreed to acquire
SanDisk for $19
billion. SanDisk at that time had entered the standard
rackmount SSD market
and had enterprise SSD product lines in the
PCIe SSD market
(primarily from Fusion-io),
FlashSoft and other acquisitions) and SAS SSDs (from SMART Storage). SanDisk was
also a leading supplier of
consumer SSDs and
|2.5" NVME PCIe SSDs|
trust SSD market data?
who's been buying SSD
will hard drives fare in an SSD world?
key SSD ideas
which emerged and clarified in 2015
enterprise SSD companies have no good reasons to survive
EMC... can you take these AFA startups seriously?
|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.
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