Solid-state drives (SSDs) are hard to ignore these days considering the media buzz about them. However, far not every maker of traditional hard drives believes that there is a market for SSDs just now. Western Digital, a leading maker of hard disk drives (HDDs), said in an interview that that the company may enter new markets for itself, such as SSDs or serial attached SCSI, but right now the firm is calm about them and has nothing to announce.
“Western Digital enters markets that exist, announces products when they are available, and runs a tight model with opportunities greater than resources; such that we take a controlled, methodical, sequential, incremental approach to product portfolio expansion,” said Richard Rutledge, senior vice president for marketing at Western Digital, in an interview with The Register web-site.
Western Digital is particularly known for cautious approach of new products introductions. The firm still does not offer hard drives with serial attached SCSI (SAS) interface for enterprise customers and also does not have any HDDs with 15 000rpm spindle speed in the lineup. No surprise, the company does not sell flash-based solid-state drives.
But this all does not mean that the hard drive maker has no plans for any of the aforementioned markets. Indeed, Western Digital is constantly considering all of them and makes decision whether to spend the resources on development of appropriate products or not.
“We do not currently supply to either several platform categories [game console, car, phone] or product categories [SAS/FC-AL on 10K/15K, SSD]. This said, we know [and] understand each of these segments and are open to enter any [or] all of them when they present appropriate opportunity,” said Mr. Ruthledge.
Since WD has close ties with SanDisk Corp., it may relatively easily enter the SSD market, according to the company’s comments made back at CeBIT 2008 trade-show in Hannover, Germany. Unfortunately, the company is not that open about entering the market of HDDs with 15K rpm spindle speed.
Currently Western Digital is looking forward two market segments where solid-state drives would make sense: ultra low-cost or ultra-tiny storage solutions for netbooks or smartphones as well as high-performance and extremely expensive solutions for enterprises. Since flash has limited lifecycle, WD does not think that SSDs make a lot of sense for mainstream or even performance-minded consumers.