Friday, May 15, 2020

5 Takeaways from HDD and SSD Market Reports

We were reviewing some reports on SSD and HDD market in Q1 2020 and the impact to the memory and Storage businesses. Mark Webb, MKW Ventures Consulting, rev 0

Note: in my terminology: “enterprise” includes datacenter, cloud, hyperscale, classic enterprise definitions. Not PC, Not CE


 SSD growth in Enterprise: SSD capacity grow in the Enterprise was ~125% YoY in Q1. While NAND prices stabilized in Late 2019 and then increased in Q1, The revenue for Enterprise SSD was just now approaching mid 2018 numbers. Capacity growth was accelerated by previous price crash and end result is revenue back to 2018 numbers. Since NAND prices increased recently, we would expect growth to be affected.

SSD Growth in Client: SSD Capacity increased 75% YoY in Q1 2020. Client SSD revenue is at all time high as bits have nearly tripled since the NAND price peak in mid 2018. This market is still the most competitive with very low margins but it also drives adoption of the newest NAND technologies with more layers and QLC. Client SSDs passed Client HDDs in units sold back in Q1 2019 and the gap continues to grow as client SSDs (units) outsell HDDs 2:1. Due to small size of SSDs and larger size of HDDs…. HDD Capacity outsells SSD capacity 2:1. Interesting symmetry!

Overall bit growth: this places NAND bit growth in SSDs just short of 2x per year. SSDs are where most bits are shipped and by far the fastest growth. Mobile is struggling in 2020 so NAND will require SSD growth to continue to absorb capacity and prevent inventory builds.

Market share leaders: Samsung leads in both Enterprise and in Client in capacity shipped and although the competition is working hard to gain especially in Enterprise, Samsung holds on. Intel is second in enterprise, WD is second in Client. This just in: Samsung is kinda dominant in memories

 HDD Vs SSD numbers: SSD are growing at a faster percentage than HDDs and people expect that someday SSD replace HDDs. This may happen someday but we are still a long way away from that. More bits are added to HDD than SSD every year by a wide margin. 83% of bits shipped are HDD. In enterprise 90% of bits shipped are HDD. Reasons:
a.      SSDs are faster but HDDs are still much cheaper in both client and enterprise.
b.      Client and nearline are not as performance obsessed
c.      HDD costs are dropping faster than we predicted… and innovation continues
d.      SSD dominate in the performance applications in the datacenter. But those are the dominant consumer of bits.
e.      Lots more reasons and detailed data on this

Bonus: Mission critical 10K and 15K HDDs…. A market I said should disappear in 2015 since there is no logical reason for them …. Still sell with only minor capacity erosion over time. Reason: Once something is established, enterprise is very slow to move away from it. Remember that.

Mark Webb