Western Digital Outlines Three Key Areas for Development

WD: Hybrid Hard Drives, SSDs and NAS are Key Opportunities

by Anton Shilov
10/22/2012 | 11:34 PM

Western Digital, the largest maker of hard disk drives on the planet, outlined three key areas that need to be explored in a bid to meet future needs of its customers. According to the hard drive manufacturer, its portfolio should be expanded with better enterprise offerings, primarily high-performance solid-state drives; hybrid hard drives for clients as well as network area storage products.


“Currently, we are focused on three key initiatives to broaden our portfolio to meet the evolving needs of our customers, enabling continued value creation: first, the delivery of innovative and cost-effective storage products, including hybrid drives for thin and light mobile devices; second, a portfolio of enterprise products that fit the varying needs of the public and private cloud environments, including high-performance SSD systems and high-performance and large-capacity hard drives with the lowest total cost of ownership; third, providing easy-to-use integrated solutions for the personal cloud environment and our connected lives,” said Stephen Milligan, the president of WD, during the most recent conference call with financial analysts.

It is noteworthy that both high-performance solid-state drives as well as hybrid hard drives are two areas that Western Digital has not seriously investigated just several years ago. In fact, while the company has admitted that SSDs may offer numerous advantages for datacenters, its portfolio of solid-state drives for enterprises is rather small and cannot be compared to wide set of families offered by companies like OCZ Technology. WD is also somewhat late with hybrid hard drives as by the time the company ships its drives, Seagate will be shipping its third-generation hybrid storage devices.

As ultra-portable devices, including smartphones, tablets, ultra-slim notebooks, ultrabooks, small form-factor desktops with limited storage capacities are getting popular, whereas the amount of data is increasing, network area storage products are likely to experience tremendous growth going forward. Therefore, WD’s plan to develop more advanced, efficient and cost-effective NAS offerings clearly makes a lot of sense.

Due to the same reasons, the need is growing for ultra-high capacity enterprise-class hard disk drives. Recently, HGST, a division of Western Digital, announced plan to release sealed HDDs with helium gas and up to seven platters inside, up from five today, in the second half of 2013. The sealed drives will offer higher capacities than traditional hard drives.

“In the cloud environment, our new seven-disk high-capacity sealed drive announcement has been extremely well received, confirming the need to seek better total cost of ownership solutions for this growing market,” said Mr. Milligan.