A Busy Season For The Digital Storage Industry


Tom Coughlin, Contributor

October 16, 2015

Digital storage is a key technology driving the information age and it seems there are always interesting developments. But the last week or two have been particularly busy with new cloud storage introductions as well as a number of acquisitions.

Backblaze, an on-line backup company storing 150 PB of data made a major foray into cloud storage. The company designed and builds its own Storage Pod hardware, which it has shared with the industry, has announced its own cloud storage offering. The B2 Cloud Storage Service costs half a penny per gigabyte, probably the lowest cost on the market for cloud storage. Amazon S3 starts at3 cents per GB for standard access and 1.25 cents per GB for infrequent access. Azure storage starts at 2.4 cents per GB and Google Cloud Standard storage starts at 2.6 cents per GB.

The service can be used by customers to build cloud applications and competes with Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Storage. The B2 Cloud Storage will be hosted on the same Storage Pod platform the company uses in its on-line backup business.

This last week there have been a number of announcements of investments and acquisitions in the industry.   Seagate announced that they have completed their acquisition of storage system maker, Dot Hill. Seagate acquired major storage OEM manufacturer Xyratex a few years ago and it has made major moves to provide its own designed storage systems.  Dot Hill will become part of Seagate’s OEM-focused Cloud Storage Solutions business. Dot Hill is one of the few remaining major OEM storage system companies in the industry and brings a considerable amount of IP as well as OEM customer connections.

IBM is buying on-line object storage company Cleversafe, an 11 year old pioneer in this industry. Adding Cleversafe to IBM’s storage portfolio gives IBM additional object storage capability plus Cleversafe’s distributed copy technology that creates geographically dispersed copies of data stored on their cloud. Cleversafe gives IBM OpenStack integration and a fast path to providing long-term cloud storage services for its customers. IBM currently has a SoftLayer storage-as-a-service offering as well as hybrid cloud products.

Finally Western Digital accepted a $3.78 B investment by Chinese state-backed Tsinghua Holdings (the same company that reportedly made an offer for Micron Technology in July of this year). Perhaps a partial ownership by a Chinese company will finally get Chinese regulator MOFCON to approve the merger of HGST and Western Digital (a merger that has been only partially implemented for over 3 years).

These may not be the only storage acquisitions that we may see before the end of 2015. Low interest rates and lower stock prices are making many companies attractive potential targets. There are still rumors that some major flash memory companies could be on the block.   These would be very attractive acquisitions by companies like Seagate or Western Digital who would benefit enormously with their SSD offerings by having their own flash memory source.

This article was written by Tom Coughlin from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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