Cray “acquires” ClusterStor business unit from Seagate

Information at this link. It is being called a “strategic transaction”, though it likely came about vis-a-vis Seagate doing some profound and deep thinking over what business it was in.

Seagate has been weathering a storm, and has been working on re-orgs to deal with a declining disk market. They acquired ClusterStor as part of a preceding transaction of Xyratex. Xyratex was the basis for the Cray storage platforms (post Enginio).

So my guess (and no, I have no inside information at all, I’ve not spoken with friends at either organization) is that Seagate spoke with Cray and said something to the effect “look, we need to cut costs, focus on our core, trim the sails, batten down the hatches, and this business unit is on the chopping block. Do you want to take it off our hands? Along with the people?”

I am sure it wasn’t entirely like this.

Not entirely.

But it seems to approximately fit what I am seeing.

Generally, disk shipments are declining. We’ve likely hit peak-disk. There will be a very long tail, but like other industries in the past, buggy whips, tape drives and tape tech, I wouldn’t want to be only in that space.

Yeah yeah … some will argue with me that tape isn’t dead, or other things like that. Pull out metrics showing incredible economics, longevity, and so forth. Amazon Glacier they’ll say.


Rigor mortis had set in long ago to that market. There is a good reason why tape mostly companies like Quantum are in a world of hurt with no real avenue to escape. This is buggy whip manufacturing all over again.

This isn’t lost on Seagate (I presume … I know lots of smart people there). Not lost on Cray either (again with the smart people).

Likely there are lots of nice things in the deal. Specials on disk pricing, priority support and access. Lots of other goodness.

Lets see what happens. But in conjunction with the changes at Intel over Lustre (getting out of the market), the changes at a number of national labs that I am aware of, I think this is probably the right move for both orgs. Cray will have a real storage portfolio that they own. Seagate will have been able to reduce its cost base and head count, while locking in a customer.

Could be a fun time to be at Cray.

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