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Seagate @ 40: Future Focus is on Enterprise flash and SSD storage

Vivek Upman, Enterprise Lead- South Asia, Seagate Technology HDD talks about Seagate’s 40 years journey as a storage solutions provider and outlines the roadmap for the future driven by increasing edge computing adoption

 

  1. What according to you is the USP of Seagate Technology?

We are crafting human data sphered experience and yet reaching out to more and more customers in the form of end users than we did ever before. So, we believe that the new opportunity that’s coming in the form of edge will bring to us new opportunities as well as challenges and Seagate want to be on the forefront of those challenges and opportunities.

It has been 40 glorious years that’s where we have been crafting human data sphere. We continue to redefine technology, bring in more innovations in terms of aerial density of our disk drives, bring in new flash technologies in the form of SSDs and also new generation products like SAND systems, J-bots and application platforms which will power the infrastructure of the edge.

 

  1. What are the main products and services offered in the Seagate portfolio?

Traditionally, Seagate has been a hard disk drive manufacturer. As the technology shift started towards flash and then to SSD, we have started SSD that is Solid-state- drive. And now with the edge emerging, we are into storage systems. We provide SAND systems, J-bots, application platforms. These are the new technology solutions to the OEM partners as well as enterprises, businesses and data centers. From disk drives to SSDs and now the new generation storage systems, Seagate portfolio includes the entire gamut.

 

  1. How does Seagate measure its beneficial impact on customers?

It has been 40 years now that we have been the storage building blocks for the OEM partners, you name them from IBM to HP. While we are the storage solution provider for many years, however, with the new age of IT 4.0 and edge emerging, there are new challenges in terms of the infrastructure that comes up. That is where we are building new solutions directly for the data center creators and organizations which will power the next solutions in the market. We will be basically creating new set of building blocks and something which is readily available, cost effective and will try to simplify the entire ecosystem which is presently there, so that there is effective turn around for everyone.

 

  1. What is the go-to-market strategy of Seagate?

Our go-to-market typically is to create an ecosystem for the new set of emerging technologies that are there. We already have a thriving ecosystem in terms of providing the storage products to the OEM partners, to the cloud providers and now we are approaching directly to the end users, business owners who are going to be the creators of the data centers of tomorrow. Our strategy is to maintain the ecosystem that we have in terms of the OEMs, the cloud service providers and now to approach business owners and the data centers of tomorrow with storage systems and solutions.

 

  1. How would you differentiate yourself from competitors?

We have been an OEM partner, we have been the supplier to them, and to cloud service provider so we are in a sense of collaborative frame work. We would like to position ourselves as a new provider for the edge. That is what we continue to do, specify and focus upon because with the coming of age there will be new opportunities, new market and new challenges coming up which will have space for everyone.

 

  1. Which are the target verticals and who are some of your marquee customers?

All the OEMs and cloud service providers are our customers but now when we are approaching them every single edge infrastructure creator becomes our customer as well. So, whether it is in high performance computing, media and entertainment segment, or in the manufacturing, wherever there is a storage building block required, everyone potentially is a customer of Seagate.

 

  1. What are the key focus areas and initiatives in your business roadmap for next 24 months?

Our continuous focus has been to increase the aerial density of single hard disk drive so that so that same 42U rack can double up the capacity that essentially helps everyone not to increase the data center space with the explosion of data.  In the near future, we want to have a strong focus on our Enterprise flash segment along with the Enterprise grade SSDs to watch closely how the edge manifests itself.  We want to ensure that we are present at every opportunity of the infrastructure creation with our storage solutions.

We are risk prepared. So, if you look at the kind of journey we have gone through, you do not have many companies what have lasted for 40years and we are still going very strong. We are looking for technologies and the design investment that we have been making in R&D to make us future proof. We are aware of the risks that are there because without that, no company will survive but we have a clear roadmap of the next 40 years with some of our technologies like heat assisted magnetic recording, multi actuator drives which essentially redefines the way a hard disk drive is looked at by all the OEM partners and cloud service providers. We will soon be launching something like a 20/24 terabytes and we have a roadmap of 50 terabytes hard disk drive. We are looking very strongly into the future with the storage solutions at the edge.

  1. How does edge computing transform Enterprise data center strategies?

Please understand that there have been lots of discussions on the word edge, and ever since there has been a limitation on the way 4G works out, people have been talking about a new generation of bandwidth availability about 5G, high speed fibre. Right now what is happening is that you have lots of data that the devices create and they send to a core or a cloud but they have to wait for the right amount of data to come back to take action. Now, essentially, 5G or high speed fibre completely removes that and brings the processing nearer to the source where the data is actually getting activated, giving rise to newer sense of technology, challenges and markets.

The focus is on to understand the edge which will bring a new market in the next few years, where the edge will reside and what could be the edge use cases which will actually be the revenue generators. The applications of edge for agriculture as one of the use cases, autonomous vehicles as one of the use cases. smart manufacturing , smart drones will come to the market which currently we may not even think of  but at the same time it will bring lots of challenges in terms of security and compliance. So, that is where the focus has been to not only look at the markets that are being created, the disruption that they will bring but also security and compliance challenges that it will bring along with.

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