Seagate and ClusterStor: a lesson in not jumping to conclusions based on what was not said

I saw this analysis this morning on the Register’s channel site. This follows on the announcement of other layoffs and shuttering of facilities.

A few things. First a disclosure: arguably, the day job and more specifically our Unison product is in “direct” competition with ClusterStor, though we never see them in deals. This may or may not be a bad thing, and likely more due to market focus (we do big data, analytics, insanely fast storage in hyperconverged packages) than anything else. SGI, HPE, and Cray all resell/rebrand ClusterStor under their own system.

That out of the way, this is speculation on the part of the article. Granted, they are reading into what is, and is not being said … spokes people tend to choose words carefully, and work to “correct” (aka spin) what they perceive as an incorrect read on the matter. Indeed, Ken Claffey of Seagate strove to correct this in the first comment.

Even more to the point, the article itself wasn’t updated, but there is a new article indicating precisely this.

Short version: They are fine, just moving production elsewhere.

This actually highlights a danger in our very high frequency world. “Information” gets out into the wild, and it takes someone’s time/effort and a number of resources to bring this “information” to the point of being correct. I have no reason to disbelieve them … large companies move people/processes about all the time, specifically, to leverage economies of scale, and better cost structures elsewhere.

In the 1980s or so, IBM used to be (internally) nicknamed “Ive Been Moved”.

I think the issue was assuming that the woes in the PC drive space extended to the enterprise/high performance space. I don’t think they do. Seagate may or may not choose to break out revenues/costs associated with each business unit, likely the provide some of this in their investor relations bits.

I think it unlikely that they would have gone on the spending spree they have in this space, and then just shutter it when the PC space contracts.

All this said, in the bigger picture, the storage market is changing dramatically and quickly. Spinning disk is not necessarily toast, but it is being relegated in many designs we’ve worked on, to the same thing that tape has traditionally been used for. This is a fairly fundamental change. But remember, tape is still with us now. Think very long tail, very large volumes of data that cannot be effectively moved from tape to disk. Disk to SSD/NVM is possible, though I think disk still has a longer shelf life than NVM.

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