Western Digital To Buy Virident, May Mess Up Seagate's Virident Relationship

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Virident brings Western Digital and HGST two primary products, including the FlashMAX II PCIe flash storage card based on MLC NAND memory technology for deployment in servers, as well as the FlashMAX Connect software, HGST's Cordano said. The Virident offerings are based on the company's own controller technology and software, he said.

"Together, their hardware and software accelerate applications across multiple servers," he said.

Western Digital's Milligan said that other vendors had an opportunity to acquire Virident. However, he was not clear whether that included arch-rival hard drive vendor Seagate, which in January invested $40 million in Virident. The two at the time also signed a joint development agreement.

A Seagate spokesperson, in an emailed statement to CRN, said Seagate is now looking at how to best go forward with its Virident relationship.

"Our investment in Virident was designed to support our overall SSD and flash strategy. We will continue to support our current customers for these products. While we intend to honor the agreement we signed with Virident, given today's announcement we will work with our internal teams and Virident to determine the best path for the Seagate-branded products utilizing Virident technology," the Seagate spokesperson wrote.

Western Digital has a 41-percent share of the enterprise hard drive business and is gearing up to take its share of an enterprise SSD market expected to reach $7.2 billion by 2017, Cordano said, citing IDC estimates.

Meanwhile, HGST currently has a 13-percent share of the enterprise SSD market with sales of about $355 million, or about a 17-percent share worth about $477 million, Cordano said, again citing IDC research.

"By combining our competitive position with our recent acquisition resources, we believe we are poised for accelerated growth in this multibillion-dollar growth space. ... We are thoughtfully and deliberately combining the technologies needed to play an increasingly significant role in the evolving storage ecosystem," he said.


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