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HDD technology alliance kicks off

Posted: 18 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HDD? roadmap? storage?

Finally, the end may be near for the long-drawn out debates on what direction the HDD industry should or could take. Hitachi GST, Seagate Technology and Western Digital have moved to begin an industry alliance to set a road map for the industry. The group is expected eventually to include all drive makers and their component vendors.

The three companies have already committed "multiple millions of dollars" to the new group, tentatively called the Storage Technology Alliance. The three U.S. companies have been hammering out details of the new group for months.

"By the end of the year we hope to have all the hard drive and component companies including semiconductors makers in line because the proposition is so compelling," said Mark Geenen, chairman of the International Disk Drive and Equipment Materials Association (IDEMA) which will manage the research group.

Geenen said he is headed to Asia as early as next week to talk to drive makers Samsung and Toshiba about joining the group. Component makers such as TDK, Fuji Electric, LSI, Marvell and Texas Instruments as well as equipment makers such as Veeco Instruments Inc., Xyratex International and others are also expected to join, he said.

The expense of the next-generation technology needed to continue packing more bits in a square inch of hard disk space and industry cost pressures on a consolidating industry are driving the collaboration.

"Companies have come to a realization it's the biggest technology transition in the last 20 years of the drive business if not in its whole history," said Geenen. "Now that we are down to five hard disk companies and a handful of component vendors, we need to do more pre-competitive collaboration so our infrastructure is tuned and ready to go," he said.

For more than five years, Hitachi and Seagate have raced to be the first to define the next-generation of hard disk technology taking radically different routes.

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