And the flash industry hits just keep on coming! This morning Western Digital announced they were acquiring Flash industry leader SanDisk for $19 billion. It’s the biggest news since last week when Dell announced they were acquiring EMC for slightly more than three times as much.
Considering that WD has a market cap in the neighborhood of $17.6 billion and is spending $19 billion on SanDisk, there is no question they are all in with the shift to flash technology. WD still has a large disk drive business that they need to maintain, but much of the growth in their business is going to come from flash. When you look at their portfolio across the WD, HGST and SanDisk product lines, WD is going to be a real powerhouse for many years to come. It’s an excellent move.
All this industry reshuffling is occurring simultaneously with the disruption in the enterprise storage market where flash-based arrays are kicking traditional disk-based arrays to the curb. There is going to be a lot of flash sold in the years to come. While the “All You Need is Flash” meme has taken over much of the market, there is enormous growth potential beyond basic first generation, homogeneous All-Flash arrays. There has always been a performance layer and a capacity layer in data storage and flash will not change the need for both. Initially, those needs were addressed by different kinds of disk drives, which were superseded by hybrid arrays that combined flash and disks. In the future, the concept of hybrid arrays will be replaced by heterogeneous All-Flash arrays that integrate performance-oriented flash with capacity-oriented flash. In many respects they will resemble both multi-tiered disk arrays and All-Flash arrays, but they will deliver more data at the speed of flash, much more efficiently.
As for Tegile, Both WD and SanDisk are investors in us and we look forward to everything about this deal. We have been working closely with SanDisk on the next stage of enterprise flash technology and will soon start delivering on this vision in 2016. Based on Tegile’s IntelliFlash HD architecture that was previewed at VMworld 2015 and SanDisk’s InfiniFlash high-density system, our new IntelliFlash systems will be able to scale up to 10PB effective capacity at a much lower price point than the market has ever seen for enterprise flash. Customers who want to accelerate their NoSQL and Hadoop analytics systems should start talking to us now because tech like ours will be transformative to their applications.