November 18, 2009 – I don’t invest in storage-specific vendors’ stocks, but if I did I’d be taking a close look at the solid-state disk (SSD) drive arena; in particular, a vendor that seems to be the early leader in this space, at least as measured in terms of OEM design wins: STEC.
This company is on a roll, having racked up design wins with most of the major disk array vendors, including Compellent, EMC, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi Data Systems, IBM, LSI/Engenio, Sun and others.
The company hosted an Analyst Day earlier this week in NYC, where it announced/previewed a number of new products, including a third-generation ZeusIOPS drive with multi-level cell (MLC) technology (in qualification now), a SATA version of its Mach SSD (2Q10), and Fibre Channel and SAS SSDs based on ASICs. (The Fibre Channel versions of the Zeus SSDs were previously based on field-programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs).
At the Analyst Day conference, STEC officials identified the company’s primary competitors in the enterprise SSD space as Hitachi/Intel (mid-2010), Pliant (2010), Toshiba/Fujitsu (2011/12), Fusion-io (on servers) and, eventually, disk drive manufacturers such as Seagate and Western Digital.
“With six- to nine-month+ qualification cycles, the top slots at OEMs will be filled early, making it a horse race to see who can be second to STEC at most OEMs,” wrote Needham & Co. analyst Richard Kugele in a research note on STEC’s Analyst Day presentations. “ . . .we (and STEC) expect second sourcing to be at the company level rather than the product level, with specific SKUs devoted to certain suppliers due to the lack of [SSD] standards and interoperability.”
Not surprisingly, financial analysts have extremely optimistic stock price expectations for STEC.
For more information on solid-state disk drives, visit InfoStor’s SSD Topic Center.
On a somewhat related note, Adaptec and Intel will be hosting a webinar tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 19) at 2 p.m. ET “to discuss how data center managers, system integrators, and storage and server OEMs can seamlessly integrate SSDs to reduce IT costs, reduce power consumption and minimize maintenance costs and physical space requirements, all with maximum I/O performance.”
You can register for the webinar here.