HGST Buys Amplidata – The Beginning of an Object Storage Shopping Spree?

As we reported last year HGST is on a shopping spree, and that spree continues into 2015 as today HGST announced that is has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Amplidata. The purpose of the Amplidata acquisition is to help build out HGST’s Active Archive portfolio. HGST now offers products in all areas of the storage infrastructure, including various flash offerings and long term repositories. In addition to the ramifications that this acquisition has on HGST it will also be interesting to see how it might ripple through the object storage community.

Object Storage Shopping Spree?

The HGST acquisition of Amplidata is more than likely a sign of things to come. We expect to see a flurry of object storage companies gobbled up by larger storage vendors. This means that companies like Cleversafe, Caringo, Cloudian, Exablox, Scality and others may be the next to see a payday.

The motivation to move more aggressively into object storage is an obvious one for hard disk vendors. As the world continues its obsession with capturing everything and keeping it available, data needs to be stored on a scalable, easily accessed architecture. The disk drive vendors have responded with higher capacity hard drives including 8TB and 10TB capacities. But of course those high capacity hard drives need to be placed in something, and object storage based systems seem to be ideal platform for these disks.

What Does HGST Get?

HGST, via this acquisition, gets an object storage vendor with an in-place OEM relationship with Quantum. Indications are that Quantum is seeing success selling the Amplidata solution, which it markets as Lattus. But there is some question as to how successful Amplidata is outside of the Quantum relationship. As a result, HGST has its work cut out for it, as the world still needs to be convinced that object storage is the next platform and it is time to move beyond NAS.

StorageSwiss Take

Overall, HGST needs to wrap some messaging around all these various acquisitions of the past year. The Active Archive could be a good start but we remain confused as to HGST’s long-term strategy. Is HGST trying to become a systems vendor, remain an OEM or somehow do both? With SanDisk, HGST, Seagate and other traditional OEM’s acquiring systems companies is this the end of the OEM/Supplier relationship?

Also, “Active Archive” is a technology concept that originated with tape, especially in the media and entertainment space. Does this mean HGST is proposing object storage as ‘the new tape’ in these high-capacity use cases?

From an object storage market perspective, this may signal the beginning of a massive consolidation, where storage and server manufactures begin to shore up their object storage offerings. That said, consolidated or not, the object storage community still needs to convince IT professionals why it has the right platform for all unstructured data. A few vendors have done a good job of this and many are finding spot success. Our opinion is that to gain broader acceptance, object storage vendors need to focus on the NAS as enemy number one and position themselves as the next generation storage system.

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Eight years ago George Crump, founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal. To educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is and a heavily sought after public speaker. With 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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