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Balancing Act

My life is a balancing act. I balance my work life and personal life. I balance my “me” time and family time. I balance healthy foods and not-so healthy (but so tasty) food. Even my work is a balancing act. My job is to manage OEM server and storage companies, so I have the challenging task of balancing all of their needs - which customer needs which products and when. Unlike the Tier 1 & 2 data center customers, OEM customers buy measurable volumes of both performance and capacity enterprise class HDDs.

The cloud continues to grow and growth projections are astounding, and because of that, most of the attention seems to be focused on this market segment. However, performance enterprise volumes are still meaningful, and in fact, according to IDC’s Preliminary 4Q 2019 HDD Shipment results report*, performance-optimized HDD unit shipments actually grew by 9.7% - 14.5% sequentially in 4Q 2019, and for the first three quarters of 2019, Toshiba accounted for 35% share of this market.

Anyone involved in the HDD market knows that performance enterprise HDD program’s life is long - longer than any other type of HDDs. Unfortunately, the performance enterprise HDD market is contracting, as performance-seeking applications are willing to pay for the higher price SSDs. However, a couple of recent events may have slowed the SSD momentum – well, at least temporarily. Two of the largest NAND suppliers both suffered production setbacks in early January. An electric power outage and a fire, respectively, interrupted NAND production, and although the exact fallout from these events are still unknown, any stoppage in NAND production generally results in a loss of meaningful finished output. Even prior to these two events, NAND prices were on the rise due to tight supply, but now the upward trend is accelerated. This is good news for the HDD industry, which is in position to benefit from higher SSD price fallout.

I am expecting a bump in our performance enterprise HDD demand, and as such, I have begun to communicate with our factories to align production schedules in order to maximize output. My goal is to meet to all of my customers’ demand, if possible. I know it will be challenging for the next few months, but I feel positive that our team is well suited for the balancing act.


* IDC subscriber data reports are published quarterly. Unit shipments based on Preliminary 4Q 2019.

Toshiba defines a megabyte (MB) as 1,000,000 bytes, a gigabyte (GB) as 1,000,000,000 bytes and a terabyte (TB) as 1,000,000,000,000 bytes. A computer operating system, however, reports storage capacity using powers of 2 for the definition of 1GB = 230 = 1,073,741,824 bytes and therefore shows less storage capacity. Available storage capacity (including examples of various media files) will vary based on file size, formatting, settings, software and operating system, such as Microsoft Operating System and/or pre-installed software applications, or media content. Actual formatted capacity may vary.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc.

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