M&A roundup

I’ve not reported it, but STEC was acquired by Western Digital. STEC has been one of the day job’s partners for high performance SSD technology. Unfortunately, we’ve not had great luck with WD in the past. Even gone so far as to recall/replace specific models from every machine shipped globally with those drives, due to very high failure rates, and a complete unwillingness on the part of WD to either admit defective firmware, or RMA defective drives. So we ditched them, and declared a multi-year moratorium on getting their kit for our units. Then they went ahead and purchased HGST, whom we like, and make good kit. Years into this acquisition, HGST appears to be mostly independent, which is a good thing. So we buy lots of HGST drives. I think we need to take a wait and see approach with this to figure out what will transpire. Right before the acquisition, STEC announced new products that were on the surface, directly competitive with one of our offerings.

Didn’t make me happy, and I had to explain to the other owners why we were still using them. Then they doubled down on this direction, and then were acquired. So I’ll say caution is advised … I don’t see WD mucking too much with HGST, as they are a terrific brand name, and fundamentally have a good following. I see them integrating STEC into either HGST or WD proper. WD will remain volume/consumer drives, and HGST will likely remain enterprise drives.

This now puts tremendous pressure on Seagate to acquire Virident already. I don’t have any inside knowledge of this, I have no idea if it would happen. But it seems to be the obvious play at this stage.

This leaves FusionIO and Violin out as … well … hanging out. I’d imagine Dell would grab FusionIO. This is a pure guess.

Second, two of our partners bought each other … well … one partner was bought by someone were are bringing on as a partner. Sandisk bought Smart. This is a good thing. Very complementary.

Smart makes very good kit. And so does Sandisk (Pliant disks). We have use cases for both MLC (Smart) and SLC (Pliant). Our STAC benchmarks used both sets of drives.

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