Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Seagate on why HDD replacement is not easy

Article from Digitimes... Seagates input on HDD replacement.... yes I realize it may be biased :-)

SSDs not a simple solution for replacing HDDs: Q&A with Seagate executive
Max Wang, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES [Tuesday 5 January 2016]
During a Digitimes interview, Global Sales and Operations senior vice president B.S. Teh for Seagate Technology indicated that it is not simple for SSDs (solid-state drives) to replace HDDs (hard disk drives), simply because SSD prices are three times that of HDD prices for applications targeting consumer electronics and possibly more than 10 times for applications for enterprise storage.
Q: As slow growth in global PC demand and the increasing use of SSDs has affected the business operations of HDD vendors, how does Seagate cope with the impact?
A: Although global HDD shipments will decrease from 550-600 million drives in 2014 to nearly 500 million units in 2015, total storage capacity will increase from nearly 500 exabytes (109 gigabyte) to 530-550 exabytes. While having stepped into SSDs with initial SSD models launched in 2013, Seagate focuses on the HDD business and develops models featuring high storage capacity and efficiency as well as low cost, for which Seagate aims to reduce the average shipment price for HDDs to one-tenth of that for SSDs. Seagate has been decreasing its reliance on PC-use HDDs through increased shipments for applications for cloud computing-based storage, consumer electronics, security surveillance and enterprise storage, with the revenue proportion for PC-use HDDs slipping from nearly 63% in 2010 to an estimated nearly 43% in 2015. For the PC-use market segment, Seagate will launch 1TB HDD models for use in notebooks in 2016.
Q: Apart from PC-use HDDs, how does Seagate look to global demand for storage from consumer electronics users and enterprises?
A: HDDs used in consumer electronics take up nearly 15% of Seagate's consolidated revenues at present. In a bid to enhance marketing of such HDDs, Seagate has acquired LaCie and Lyve. As demand for enterprise storage is much larger than that for consumer electronics storage in terms of capacity and shipment value, Seagate has invested US$700-800 million annually in R&D for software and hardware used in enterprise storage.
Q: In the market segment of enterprise storage, system vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell procure HDDs for use in servers or storage equipment, but some of enterprises have skipped such vendors and acquired storage equipment through service providers, cloud computing service operators or ODMs/OEMs, has such change in business model influenced HDD vendors?
A: My personal opinion is that the influence is in order visibility and ordered volume, because orders released by system vendors are clearly visible with shipments able to be estimated while orders released by ODMs/OEMs or service providers are more likely to fluctuate and ordered volumes are relatively difficult to estimate. For shipments to the latter, Seagate has strictly controlled inventory level to minimize risks.
Q: How does Seagate view Dell's merger acquisition of EMC at US$33.15 per share for a total price of US$67 billion?
A: Both Dell and EMC are Seagate's clients and Seagate is happy to see the merger. Both companies' complementary resources can be integrated and the operational scale can be enlarged via the merger.
Q: Market analysts think that China-based Tsinghua Unigroup's stake investment in Western Digital will impact Seagate's business in the China market, what are your opinions?
A: Seagate is not worried about any negative impact related to the investment stake on Seagate's business cooperation with existing China-based clients. The reason is simple, that is, under free market competition, users are unwilling to concentrate HDD procurement in a single supplier no matter who invests in Western Digital.
Q: How do you view development in the Taiwan storage market?
A: There have been significant changes in the Taiwan storage market, mainly a shift from PC-use demand to large demand by data centers as well as some Taiwan-based makers', including Foxconn Electronics, Quanta Computer and Inventec, having engaged in server production which has become important for Taiwan and is expected to be expanded steadily over the next 5-10 years.


Monday, January 4, 2016

SSD Shipment Forecast in Units and TBs...

     Predicted SSD shipments based on IHS, IDC, DE published data and my own inputs.

     Nice growth ... CAGR is 15% in units going forward. 40% in TBs shipped.

     Neither will lead to SSDs overtaking HDDs in next few years

     Note1: Enterprise and Client are projected to be about the same

 If you plug in the TBs shipped and assume 30-35% ASP/GB reduction, you can see revenue increase is "Muted" ... maybe 5-10%. There is another article by a research firm showing 40% REVENUE growth CAGR for SSDs. This is definitely not true for SSD vendors. It might get closer to 40% if you include NAND vendors, SSD vendors, Storage systems (Like EMC/Netapp), in house systems (like Google/AWS) etc.

 40% CAGR

 15% CAGR

      Mark Webb, Mark@mkwventures.com

      #storagevisions, #CES2016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Consumer SSD adoption challenges

Getting to a market penetration in Consumer has not reached 50% yet ... it will close at 30% or less in 2015. Getting there has a number of challenges... some can be addressed ... others are more challenging

  • SSDs cost more than HDDs.
    • If we go with the cheapest SSD known to man and we use rack rate pricing for HDD, SSDs are 5x more expensive. it drops to 3x by 2018
    • If we take minimum cost to PC ODM, a 240GB SSD would cost >$50. A 500GB HDD is $23. The difference is more than than the total OEM Profit margin on a notebook PC
    • ODMs refuse to add 50c to a BOM ... let alone $20+
  • Consumers don't know impact of SSDs on performance. Actually they don't judge PCs on amount of storage in GBs... not good for SSDs
  • SSDs are not instant on. Its nice to say SSDs are 50 times faster than HDDs. In reality they boot 50% faster and they load applications 50% faster ... which might not be noticeable in most consumer uses
  • There is no competition to have fastest storage in notebooks. Apple needs SSDs to keep its high performance $1000+ price point lead. Intel needs SSDs to compete in the same market. The average notebook is $500 and is not a major storage performance competition

There is hope:

  • Corporate PCs are a major market and low density, high speed SSDs withe fast backups are required
  • A competition could come out with either Lenovo, Acer, Dell, etc fully converting to SSD to push the market.  
  • a 2:1 or Chromebook or alternative Cloud/small fast storage market would drive SSD sales up. a 128G SSD + 128GB cloud would be a perfect $500 convertable
  • DRAM faces similar challenges. But the difference is that Intel pushes for Faster DRAM  and marketing pushes for it as well. and eventually, the price of the new memory matches the slower memory which causes sales tipping point. Intel could force people to use PCIe SSD on future chipsets.
Until then, combinations of HDD/SSD or HDD alone will be most of the PCs sold.

#storagevisions, #CES2016

Mark Webb, mark@mkwventures.com

Which NVM Storage Technology will dominate 3 years from now?

NVM is a popular way to add performance to a storage or server system

In approximate order increasing performance and cost:
  • Replace SATA/SAS HDDs with SATA/SAS SSDs
  • Use PCIe NVMe accelerator cards. Simple add in cards or complex stack changes to reduce latency
  • Add NVDIMMs to put NAND on the memory bus
  • New NVM is now available (Like Xpoint) to allow major changes to memory and storage allocation. And there are multiple options on how to use these.
  • Other Caching options

The challenge is to make the tradeoffs for use case, cost, and performance.

To decide which technologies will dominate:
  • What will the costs be in 3 years? (hint: 1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 1-4x) … details and checkpoints need to be reviewed periodically to see we hit cost goals.
  • Will people rewrite applications and change architectures to take advantage of the technologies?
  • Does the market desire generic, open source solutions or customer optimized ones?
  • Update on actual implementation is key question for Storage Experts this week
#storagevisions, #CES2016

Update for January 2016... so when ARE SSDs going to Replace HDDs???

When will SSDs Replace HDDs? … an Update from August!

We presented a summary at Flash Memory Summit of predictions and reality for the past 3 years on SSD penetration. We updated study with more details and data.

From August presentation the following key points were made:

  •  SSD have not penetrated into either enterprise or client market as much as expected. A broad number would show <25% penetration into unit sales
  • The reasons are
    • price per GB for client… people won’t pay 4-6x the price even for better performance
    • slow changing ecosystem in enterprise. Even where price per IOP is what matters, like 15k HDD market (and SSDs are cheaper in this metric), SSDs are not winning.
    • Growth is slow and steady… almost linear with no tipping point coming

The Update

  •   Lower prices, 3D NAND and 3D XPoint have increased the hype. We have cost numbers for SSDs, 3D NAND, 3D XPoint and other ReRAM/PCM memories to show cost and performance metrics for next 3 years. HDD costs as well. Will the cost per IOP and cost per GB change adoption 2018?
  •  Growth continues to be steady. Even articles with titles like “SSDs are making HDDs obsolete” show growth in market share of ~5-10% per year… same as the past 4 years. Nothing tipped!  
  •  Pure Tablets sales are dropping significantly, 2:1 and new notebook forms are taking over high end notebook markets. The use of SSDs in high end Notebooks and 2:1s vs mainstream Notebooks is dramatically different.
  • 10K and 15K HDD performance enterprise sales are not dropping …. This market was supposed to be dead! How does it survive??

The Prediction

  •  In client: Cost today is still prohibitive for SSD to become dominant. Dominate penetration requires some combination of 3 changes to happen by 2018. The changes involve Cloud use, SSD architecture changes for cost, and consumer preferences
  • In Enterprise: SSDs are great for caching. They have the best cost per IOP. So increased penetration makes sense. 
    • The extreme performance, lowest latency, accelerator market will grow in one of two directions depending on use of DRAM, DIMMS, New NVM, and NAND Cost
    • The Historic/legacy Performance HDD Market will continue its slow evolution. But two changes to the ecosystems allow quicker penetration by SSDs,
    • The capacity storage market will not see widespread SSD replacement of HDD. But there are 3 possible scenarios options that allow significant use of SSDs/NAND memory.

#storagevisions, #CES2016

Mark Webb, MKW Ventures, mark@mkwventures.com