Intel Corporation and Hitachi Global Storage Technologies announced that they will jointly develop Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) and Fibre Channel (FC) enterprise class solid-state drives (SSDs) for servers, workstations and storage systems. This is an exclusive agreement to develop and deliver SAS and FC enterprise SSDs with availability of the first products in early 2010.
This is a complementary partnership marrying Hitachi GST’s drive, channel and system knowledge together with Intel’s NAND flash and flash management expertise. Hitachi selected a strong NAND flash partner that doesn’t compete with it in its core HDD business. Now that two of the three enterprise HDD makers, Seagate and Hitachi, have publicly announced plans for enterprise SSDs, Fujitsu will be compelled to react, especially with its 23% enterprise HDD market share to protect.
Seagate may feel it is big enough to source the NAND flash and develop the SSDs on its own however, Fujitsu may need to develop a partnership with a NAND flash vendor. Two possible candidates: Micron and Hynix - NAND flash vendors with SSD ambitions but no competing HDD businesses. Micron has flash management expertise acquired through its own SSD development and leading cost structure based on 34nm technology. On the other hand, Hynix is lagging on both the SSD and NAND flash technology front.
If rumors of Western Digital acquiring Fujitsu's HDD business are correct, a company that has sat on the sidelines as companies have rushed into the SSD market will have to finally step up to the plate.