back to article Western Digital sees future written on disks, not clouds

Western Digital (WD) listens more than it speaks. The company's roadmap is rarely revealed and it sails serenely on saying nothing, while flash solid state drives (SSD) challenge hard disk drives and cloud backup squares up to WD's external backup drive business. We don't know whether it's in a state of denial or knows things we …


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  1. George

    Hoorah! It's the end of the Cloud marketing rubbish....

    At least the first company has company and said that Flash is not our saviour and the cloud is not the answer either, yet.

  2. TJ
    Thumb Down

    Ignorance is Bliss

    While I agree that SDD and HDD will share a market space, I don't think ignoring one and focusing on the other is a good idea. Especially in WD case. with the history of SanDisk, They should be leading the SDD rollout to consumer and enterprise products. Small Business would like to have SDD just as much as enterprise, and if the pricepoint is right they would for sure take it over HDD anyday.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    My future is not on a WD HDD!

    If WD see their future market as external backup providers they need to address a potential lack of repeat business and negative word-of-mouth which together risk reducing their market share.

    I was initially seduced by the positioning and packaging and paid a high-end price for a product which failed well within a year. Quite apart from the fact that a product intended to provide a backup solution should fail so quickly, after returning this "premium" external disk drive to WD it took them several weeks to acknowledge receipt, even taking a month to register the item with their system after emailing me to say it had arrived. I have not yet seen any sign of a replacement two months down the road, and every marker in their stated process has been missed by a factor of at least two.

    I would not now consider purchasing or recommending any WD product; I know several ex-WD customers in the same position, and it appears there is a quality control issue with the entire WD book range which is overstretching their returns department.

  4. Paolo

    That's all well and good short term...

    ..but what happens once solid state becomes cheap enough and fast enough to encroach on WD's "middle tier" above camera cards and below high-end server storage? It's only a matter of time surely...

  5. Colin Millar

    No one ever got sacked for buying.....


    Cloud has a long way to go. Its like a machine with a million moving parts all made by the lowest bidder and a spaghetti bowl of accountability. It might appeal to those who toy with matrix management models every decade or so but they are not the sort of people who stay in business very long.

    It could also do with a name change - "this is a fuzzy fluffy marshmallowy thing" has a sense of the mananas about it - information storage and backup need to be rock solid.

  6. Neoc
    Thumb Up

    Re: My future is not on a WD HDD!

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Wednesday 15th October 2008 09:12 GMT:

    "I would not now consider purchasing or recommending any WD product; I know several ex-WD customers in the same position, and it appears there is a quality control issue with the entire WD book range which is overstretching their returns department."

    Whereas I have the exact opposite sentiment. Admittedly, I am a home-builder of PCS (by a home enthusiast, for home uses) and I build PCs for myself a friends/family. I use WD exclusively, and have for decade or so at least - I had *one* hard-drive fail within a week of purchase during stress-test and it was replaced without problems the same day. I have drives ranging from internal 100Gb PATAs to internal 1Tb SATAs and a couple of their external USB 1TB books. Love them (OK, the speed on the USB books is not phenomenal, but I can put a video file on it and watch it "live" from the book without hiccups) and would gladly recommend their drives.

    Of course, as I say, I build *home* PCs, not high-speed commercial servers, so I don't know what their "enterprise-level" hardware is like. But for home - give me a WD HDD any day and I'll thank you for it.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SSDs will takeover

    but not today, and it will be very gradual, but they are the way of the future.

    There is no way I would replace my disk arrays with them, until they were a lot more proven.

    But, for a new laptop or UMC I would definitely want one in there.

    They run quieter, less power, less space, more resistant to shock, so prove they last well and can handle many disk operations with good wear levelling then I would move over gradually.

  8. JC

    Depends On How Literally You Take It.

    Mechanical hard drives won't as a majority be replaced tomorrow or the next day, but they will be replaced before too much addt'l time passes except for fileserver or backup purposes. It may take 5 years but many people hold onto a system that long so if yours is newer today, your next might have an SSD or at least the option for one.

    What it will take is a return on investment by SSD developers so the prices fall some, another couple doublings of per-chip capacity so we're getting 4X the capacity for the same dollar, and completion of much of the current development on next-gen flash controllers that can fully exploit SATA150, let alone 300.

    All this will eventually be cheaper than a $50 mechanical hard drive, the only remaining question being how much capacity everyone really needs in their client systems. 802.11n and GbE just don't make distributed storage very reasonable, people want centralized even if that's on-site instead of in a cloud.

  9. A F
    Thumb Down

    Poor performance of Ethernet external HDDs

    External storage is a $1.5 Billion a year business and their Ethernet external HDDs (My Book World Edition) still only have a max. transfer rate of 40Mbps? They are too cheap to put in a better chipset.

    They don't mention this poor performance anywhere on the product pages!

  10. Steven Pemberton

    Whistling in the graveyard

    This is all classic disruptive technology stuff. Read "The Innovator's Dilemma", and then try and tell me that WD, or any other hard disk manufacturer, has got a future.

    If you compare the cost per bit over time of disks and solid state, you'll see that solid state is dropping much faster. Solid state has got its niche now, and will eat HD's lunch before long: it will be faster, consume less power, be more robust, smaller, *and* cheaper. Why would you want to buy a HD?

  11. BioTube

    Maybe they hit El Reg with a load of bull

    The best way to hide something is to act like you're in denial about a disruptive tech. Maybe they've got something better than SSD in the pipeline.

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