Q&A: Hitachi GST CEO says hard drive future hangs in cloud

Officials discuss plans for combined Western Digital-Hitachi GST after deal closes later this year

By , Computerworld |  Storage, cloud storage, hard drive

Milligan: I think where you're correct in that there are alternative devices that are consuming data and utilizing flash memory as opposed to notebook devices that may be using hard drives.

We've really tried to run hard towards the cloud. If we were to sit back and say our growth opportunity is in traditional compute platforms that use hard drives, we would be wrong. Are there still growth opportunities there? Yes. Is it more muted than in the past? Yes, because of alternative devices consuming all this data. So where we really see the value creation ... is the evolving storage ecosystem that's been moving to the cloud.

Will notebooks even be around in five years with tablets growing the way they are. Collins: If you look at emergence of edge devices, which would include smartphones and iPads, you cannot put all your photos or your music on there. You tend to put it on there temporarily, which means mass storage device tends to be somewhere else. These [smartphones and tablets] tend to be complementary devices, not displacing primary storage devices like notebooks and desktops. It has clearly had an impact on the growth of notebooks, but they will continue to co-exist.

If someone were to ask me: "Are you threatened by smartphones; are you threatened by tablets." My answer would be no. All of those drives have a greater need for data. All those things that drive a greater need for data are good for us fundamentally as an industry. Still, the preferred option for mass storage is rotating magnetic storage. All that data has to be somewhere. There's going to be a big fat drive out there somewhere storing all that stuff.

So the strategy is to be the disk drive supplier to cloud service providers? Milligan: Will everything eventually move to the cloud? A lot of it will, but a lot of it will not as well. What you'll find is there are a lot of bandwidth problems that will take years and years and years to resolve. And, there's a lot of privacy and security concerns with putting everything out there. So a lot of people want that remote access in the cloud, but they also want their personal cloud at home. So, I think they're going to co-exist.

And so how do the cloud and mobile markets fit together for you? Collins: That's where we get into things such as tiered data strategies we have. It's not just a plug-and-play world. It requires a much more collaborative, almost consultative approach, with our customers.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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