Category Archives: SanDisk

IBM and SanDisk join forces to create software defined flash storage for cloud

Sandisk infiniflashFlash storage maker SanDisk and IBM are working together on a new software defined, all flash storage system for data centres. News of this collaboration comes days after BCN revealed that EMC had introduced a new category of flash storage for the same market.

SanDisk’s new InfiniFlash, a high capacity and performance flash-based software defined storage system, features IBM’s Spectrum Scale file system. The joint product is the two manufacturers’ answer to the increasing demands faced by data centres who can never get enough capacity and performance and will need more flexibility in future. An all flash system gives the requisite computing power and the IBM-authored software definition provides the agility, according to SanDisk.

Flash is the only technology that can support the many variables of the modern hybrid cloud, according to SanDisk, which listed bi-modal IT, traditional and cloud native applications and the increasing workload created by social, mobile and real-time processing as drivers for the need for a powerful storage infrastructure. The InfiniFlash for IBM Spectrum is described as ultra-dense and scalable, meaning that it can be bought in small increments that can be easily snapped to together to quickly build a hyperscale infrastructure. SanDisk claimed it offers the lowest price per IOPS/TB on the market and the option for independent storage.

SanDisk claims InfiniFlash has five times the density, fifty times the performance and four times the reliability of traditional hard disks, while using 80% less power. Pricing starts at $1 per gigabyte (GB) for an all-flash system. When used with software stacks designed to reduced data (through de-duplication and other techniques) the cost of storage could fall to around 20 cents per GB, claims SanDisk.

The IBM Spectrum Scale, meanwhile, uses software definition to create efficiencies through file, object and integrated data analytics designed for technical computing, big data analysis, cognitive computing, Hadoop Distributed File System, private cloud and content repositories.

Ravi Swaminathan, SanDisk’s general manager of System and Software Solutions, promised the ‘best of both worlds’ to data centres. “Customers can afford to deploy flash at petabyte-scale, which drive business growth through new services and offerings for their end-customers,” said Swaminathan.

$19 billion Western Digital acquisition of SanDisk gets EC approval

Disk CloudThe European Commission has announced its approval of the proposed take over of storage vendor SanDisk by Western Digital. The merger of the two US-based storage rivals will not adversely affect competition in Europe, the EC has ruled.

In October 2015 BCN reported that Western Digital had announced plans buy chip maker SanDisk for around $19 billion. Flash specialist SanDisk is ranked by IDC as the largest manufacturer of NAND flash memory chips. The capacity of NAND Flash Memory products to store data in a small footprint, while simultaneously using less power but granting faster access to data, has made NAND the storage technology of choice in data centres that support cloud computing.

The market for NAND flash chips was worth $28.9 billion in 2014, according to IDC.

The Commission found that the only overlap between the activities of the hard disk manufacturers is in selling flash memory storage systems and solid-state drives to the enterprise market. In this case, the effects of the merger on competition will be minimal, it has ruled, despite their relatively high combined market share. The presence of Intel, Toshiba, Micron and Samsung in the same market will exert sufficient competitive pressure to prevent the creation of a Western Digital hegemony, the European Commission has ruled.

The Commission also investigated the vertical link between SanDisk’s production of flash memory and the downstream markets for enterprise flash memory storage systems. With flash memory an essential component of solid state drives and other flash memory storage systems the EC investigators have researched whether Western Digital will be in a position to block competitors from access to flash memory.

It also studied the likelihood that competing producers of flash memory might find themselves with an unsustainable customer base. However, SanDisk’s presence on the upstream flash memory market was judged as ‘limited’ and the presence of several active competitors makes this a manageable risk.

“This multi-billion dollar deal can go ahead without delay,” said competition policy commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Western Digital buys SanDisk for $19 billion for its cloud driving flash

Disk CloudHard disk vendor Western Digital is to buy chip maker SanDisk for around $19 billion as the consolidation of chip-making industry continues.

Flash specialist SanDisk is one of the largest makers of NAND flash memory chips. The capacity of NAND Flash Memory products to store data in a small footprint, while simultaneously using less power but granting faster access to data, has made this technology particularly popular in the mobile, internet of things and data centre sectors, Increasingly, according to analysts, NAND is becoming the storage technology of choice in data centres that support cloud computing.

The market for NAND flash chips rose to $28.9 billion in 2014, according to IDC and SanDisk (with joint venture partner Toshiba) was the largest producer.

Meanwhile the market for traditional disk drives, where Western Digital is a market leader, is declining, say analysts. The commoditisation of hardware, driven by the software definition of data centres, has seen profit margins on sales decline, even if volumes are up.

Western Digital had a leading 44% share of the market for hard disk drives in 2014, according to statistics from market researcher IDC. However, it suffered a sales decline of 4% in its most recent financial year and the overall storage business also shrank, to $32.9 billion.

“With new storage companies coming through with all-flash systems based on consumer-grade substrate, it is not in WD or Seagate’s best interests to try and do economies of scale aimed more at the enterprise only,” said analyst Clive Longbottom, senior director at research company Quocirca. “By buying up consumer flash companies, they get that economy of scale for themselves.”

The disruption of the IT manufacturers by the cloud has changed the strategies of the encumbents like Western Digital, said Longbottom. “ Dell, HP, IBM and others do seem to be more worried about the new kids on the block than each other at the moment,” said Longbottom.

The cash-and-stock offer values SanDisk at $86.50 per share, or a total equity value of about $19 billion, using a five-day volume weighted average price ending on Oct. 20 of $79.60 per share of Western Digital stock. SanDisk’s shares rose 6.4% to $80 in pre-market trading. Western Digital’s shares were down 1.1% at $74.

The deal is expected to close in the third calendar quarter of 2016.