HGST & Amplidata to co-develop “ultra-dense” storage

by Robin Harris on Monday, 8 September, 2014

Amplidata announced this morning that Western Digital Capital has made a $10m investment.

HGST, a wholly owned subsidiary of Western Digital Corp., has selected Amplidata’s Himalaya software to jointly develop a family of ultra-dense storage solutions to address the rapidly growing demand to store data in public and private cloud data centers. . . .

The companies will partner to create solutions that will dramatically improve the storage economics for the Exabyte-scale needs of the world’s largest businesses and will be available in the market during the first half of 2015.

The StorageMojo take
Wow. Didn’t see that coming. But I like it.

WD getting into the high-scale storage business? The storage landscape really has changed. Time was when a drive vendor would never – well, except for Seagate’s flirtation with Xiotech – have competed with customers.

But the lure of vertical integration – and the margins – has worked its magic. When software eats everything the barriers to entry are lowered. And when new apps are speaking native S3 it’s way easier to look at a rack full of disks as a really big disk drive.

Instantiation? Two possibilities spring to mind.

  1. HGST integrates the Amplidata software with their smart disks (see Seagate’s Kinetic vision shipping – but not from Seagate).
  2. They stay with Amplidata’s controller model to produce something that looks like what Amplidata is offering today.

One is more difficult. Two is less disruptive. My money’s on 1.

I did a video for Amplidata a couple of years ago on their architecture that interested people will enjoy.

Courteous comments welcome, of course. What do you think?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff Darcy September 8, 2014 at 8:55 am

Stuff like your option #1 is why I found HGST’s version (which I first saw at OpenStack Summit) so much more interesting than Seagate’s. I’m not impressed by yet another maybe-sufficient maybe-secure maybe-performant object interface[1], totally controlled by one party, even if it’s integrated with the drive. Being able to put *any intelligence you want* on the drive? That’s much more interesting, and much more likely to lead to development of truly new things. It’s almost a textbook example of “embrace, extend, extinguish” vs. true innovation.

[1] AFAICT the answers in this case are all “no” BTW.

Fazal Majid September 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm

A hard drive’s controller is basically just a specialized ARM SOC. A natural evolution would be to make drives that run Hadoop on the disk controller itself, albeit beefed up with ARM64 and extra RAM.

Carl D'Halluin September 9, 2014 at 4:56 am

Stay tuned. We will surprise you 🙂

Carl D'Halluin June 9, 2015 at 1:04 pm

Here is a part of our strategy for an ultra-dense storage system: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/hgst-delivers-worlds-first-10tb-070100365.html

We were acquired 3 months ago. The synergy and complementarity Amplidata – HGST is just fantastic!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: