February 13th, 2015 by Brian Beeler
Micron and Seagate Announce Strategic Partnership
Micron Technology and Seagate Technology have announced a strategic agreement, allowing the two companies to combine each of their own innovations and expertise. Micron and Seagate believe that this collaboration will benefit customers due to a focused approach to deliver new and improved storage solutions all the while helping them innovate faster and more effectively.
In addition, while they will be primarily focusing on next-generation SAS SSDs and strategic NAND supply at first, Micron and Seagate indicate that this multi-year agreement will extend into future collaborations on enterprise storage solutions that feature Micron NAND flash memory. Few other details have been released by either company; though expect to hear about upcoming products sometime this quarter.
Both companies have SAS-based offerings today, Micron has the P410m and Seagate the 1200. Micron's effort hasn't been very competitive though, possibly because they lack the SAS engineering background that is both complicated and necessary for enterprise drives. Seagate on the other hand has a wealth of SAS engineering knowledge, but could use a hand with NAND supply and figuring out how to get the most out of their SandForce controllers and firmware. Intel and HGST have a similar deal in place where there is an information share. In that case Intel goes after the SATA SSD business and HGST the SAS opportunities. Both however compete in the NVMe space.
Ultimately this new Seagate/Micron deal brings up more questions about execution and strategy than there are answers for. Will Micron start using SandForce controllers as part of this deal? Does a supply agreement with Seagate mean Micron has volume commitments to accelerate development of next-gen NAND processes (3D NAND)? Will Micron and Seagate segment businesses like Intel/HGST? As long as WD and HGST have to operate independently, what are the ramifications for WD who has no SSD business to speak of? All that and more will surely unfold over the coming months and should be interesting to observe.