Toshiba outlines storage strategy to cash in on cloud and big data era

Infotech Lead Asia: Toshiba is aiming to become the leading storage solution provider in the evolving cloud and big data era.

Toshiba executives, outlining their strategy to become the top storage player, said that IT infrastructure consisting of servers and storage systems connected over the Internet sustains cloud computing and will continue to grow as an element of large-scale, efficient and advanced social infrastructure.

Toshiba’s Total Storage Innovation will assist the company to become the top player.

Toshiba, which has an annual revenue of $74 billion, claims that it is the only vendor covering the spectrum of HDD, SSD and NAND flash memory.

The Wall Street Journal reported Toshiba’s hard-drive business generated revenue of about ¥400 billion ($5.14 billion) in the last fiscal year, accounting for about 7 percent of the Japanese technology conglomerate’s revenue of ¥6.1 trillion. By the fiscal year that ends in March 2015, the company expects its revenue from that business to double to ¥800 billion, counting on a significant contribution from the sales of hybrid hard drives.

Recently, Toshiba said it expects its share of the computer hard-drive market to nearly double over the next few years as more personal computer makers start using so-called hybrid hard drives that can improve laptop performance without adding much to price tags.

In the second quarter of last year, Western Digital held a 45 percent share of the global hard-drive market, while Seagate followed closely with a 42 percent share, according to IHS iSuppli. Toshiba trailed behind with a 13 percent share. Toshiba is targeting a 25 percent share in 2014, expecting its hybrid hard drives to help increase its market presence.

Hironobu Nishikori, corporate senior vice president of Semiconductor & Storage Company, said: “HDD and flash memory technologies will continue to coexist, taking advantage of their characteristics.”

Toshiba will offer storage solutions that address 3Vs (volume for over petabytes data, velocity for real time data processing and analytics and variety for mixture of structured and unstructured data).

In fiscal 2013 Toshiba is focusing on the following storage products.

1. Enterprise storage products (integration of HDD and SSD)

As networks proliferate and their technologies continue to progress, the world is being inundated by a rising tide of data generated by SNS terminals and sensors. The numbers are startling: reflecting the rise of cloud computing, people will have to deal with about 40 zettabytes of data in 2020.

Toshiba will offer HDDs ideal for storage of large volume of data. At the same time, the company will strengthen its offerings of enterprise SSD suitable for data transfer at high velocity by exploiting the synergy of its proprietary NAND flash memory technology and know-how in controller and firmware design for enterprise HDDs.

Toshiba will emphasize HDD/SSD products with encryption functions.

It will offer storage products with characteristics suited to handling data in the era of cloud computing and capable of satisfying a wide range of system requirements.

2. Client storage products

Hybrid drives are HDDs with NAND flash memory that offer capacities as large as HDD and speeds comparable to SSD.

Featuring self-learning algorithms to identify user access patterns, a hybrid drive optimally assigns data to three layers of storage devices consisting of DRAM, NAND flash and magnetic disks.

Toshiba says its strengths in both NAND flash memory and SSD/HDD technologies have a multiplier effect, giving our hybrid drives performances far superior to those of conventional HDDs. With hybrid drives to the fore, Toshiba aims to expand its share of the market for client storage products.

Rising demand for external HDDs attests to their attractiveness as a neat solution for those requiring additional storage capacity for moving data from the HDD or SSD built into PCs, for back-up, or for recording TV programs.

Toshiba offers external HDDs, including the world’s smallest and lightest1 9-mm-thick portable HDDs, portable HDDs up to 2 terabytes (up to 1.5 terabytes for models for the Japanese market) that do not require a power cable, and 3-terabyte external hard disks (2 terabytes for the Japanese market).

Toshiba has already won a 25 percent share of the North American and European markets for external HDDs. Toshiba intends to grow the business by offering a wider choice of consumer products geared to diversifying needs.

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