Seagate Technology, the world’s largest maker of hard disk drives (HDDs), has quietly started ro ship its first solid-state drives (SSDs). Even though the firm has not released any details about its new product line, it claimed that its initial SSDs will be aimed at servers and will be optimized for endurance, reliability and performance.
“Seagate's SSD program is progressing on schedule: we began production and shipped for in September and customer response has been very favorable. To meet customer requirements, the initial product in Seagate's SSD portfolio is targeted at the broad volume server market and has a Serial ATA interface,” said William Mosley, executive vice president of sales, marketing and product line management.
So far, Seagate has been very quiet about its solid-state drives. In fact, earlier this year the company even had to deny the rumours that it planned to delay the first SSD shipments substantially. But while, the company started to supply its flash-based storage devices for revenue last month, it released no specifications of the units and even did not unveil their brand-names.
“Our product development plan enables us to emphasize endurance, reliability and performance for SSDs at the same level of enterprise expertise that customers have come to expect from Seagate,” added Mr. Mosley.
Seagate does see a lot of opportunities for SSD on the market of enterprise storage. The company is now working with customers to develop solid-state drives with interfaces like Fibre Channel or Serial Attached SCSI that meet their performance requirements.
“We are actively engaged with our enterprise customers and are developing additional products with the entire spectrum of interfaces and performance options required to fully serve this market,” explained Mr. Mosley.
For the first quarter of FY2010 (ended October 2, 2009), Seagate shipped 46.3 million hard disk drive units and earned revenue of $2.66 billion as well as net income of $179 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.35. The financial results for the quarter include $10 million of purchased intangibles amortization, $46 million of restructuring and a write down of long-lived assets of $64 million. The aggregate impact of these items is $120 million or approximately $0.23 per share.
During the first fiscal quarter, Seagate reduced short-term borrowings and long-term debt by approximately $465 million primarily with the maturity of its $300 million floating rate senior notes and by paying down its revolving credit facility by $150 million. Subsequent to the end of the first fiscal quarter, Seagate paid off the remaining balance of its revolving credit facility of $200 million and made open market purchases of $20 million, bringing the total debt reduction during fiscal 2010 to approximately $685 million.