Executive Vice President & Managing Director
(Asia Pacific & Japan)
The completion of 30 years of Seagate’s operations coincided with the ‘non-cyclical’, rather, ‘out of the box’ recessionary infliction. Whether the contagion was the outcome of bad financial management of banking sector by Americas or the direct fall-out of the naïve geo-strategic gambles authored by US and the allies, the fact is very clear that the world got embroiled in a worst kind of economic down-turn, reminiscent of the dark phases of the great depression of 1930s.
Responding to the prevailing recessionary pressure, the world population in general; and firms & business houses in particular, resorted to cost cutting measures—It was not only the down-sizing of headcounts or tab on extravagant use of water and electricity, but even items like toilet papers bore the brunt of ‘survival strategy’. In fact, all the avoidable expenditures were pared-down to its minimal best and the resonance of this ‘adaptational instinct’ was found in every sphere of human activities. But amazingly, the recession-stricken human race kept on consuming things IT and the processes of data generation remained unabated. The impact of slow-down on the overall generation of data was almost zero!
In an interaction with Digital Edge, B.S Teh, Executive Vice President & Managing Director, Seagate (Asia Pacific & Japan), says “Yes, the unit shipments of HDDs (Hard Disk Drives) had come down drastically, but the overall data generation by people all across the world remained elevated”. He sounds quite convincing as the installed HDD capacity might have been used rigorously during those turbulent time. times. “Now the demand for storage is not slowing down and over the next 5 years, enterprise data will grow by 650 per cent. Some 40 Exabytes of unique information will be generated worldwide this year which is more than those created in the previous 5,000 years”, says Teh. The traffic on World Wide Web is growing at a 40 per cent CAGR and will exceed 56 Exabytes per month in 2013. The total number of text messages sent in the last 24 hours exceeds the total human population on the planet!
Several factors aided to such unstoppable generation of data and their reliable storage. As per Gartner’s assessment, there are some 11 discernable trends which have driven and will drive the storage industry including virtualization, energy & green IT, consumerization, unified communications, mobile & wireless, data analytics, digital video, system density, and cloud computing among others. “Such applications have developed amazing penchant for generating data requiring equally enormous capacity for its safe and reliable storage”, adds he. For a company like Seagate, the growing need for more capacity offers a tremendous business opportunity. Now when the vicious phase of recession has gone-down, the global, regional and domestic markets for HDDs have opened up once again.
If we talk of Asia-Pacific region, the HDD market is hugely poised for a big expansion. “The economic fundamentals of this region are marked by developments like large government stimulus plans, low-debt (and a culture of saving) and a healthier banking practice (not as affected by mortgage-backed securities unlike the west). Another fact which cushioned the impact of recession is that both India and China showed great resilience during the ruffled period” opines Teh. With the economy showing its brighter side, Seagate turns blisteringly optimistic about the impending HDD surge. “We’re expecting a deluge of demands as firms and business houses (in fact cyber-conscious masses) are undergoing IT spending mode. For a good number of months, they kept their IT investment plans in abeyance. We’ve a definitive reasons to believe that the worst is over and, now, it’s business time”, says he. Interestingly, Asia-Pacific region contributes the maximum revenue to the overall coffers of Seagate (in Q1 2010, this region is expected to offer 53 per cent of Seagate’s global turn-over). It appears that Seagate’s business fortunes largely hinge on the vast and vibrant market of Asia-Pacific. “If we reckon the revenue accrual in the APAC region since Q2 2004 to Q2 2009, the growth has been quite sustained (at a CAGR of 14 per cent). The region is the most important swathe of geography holding many promises for Seagate”, says Teh.
In the meantime, the entire IT industry is going for fresh dose of technology infusion. “All across the globe, the very IT ecosystem is undergoing the augmentation processes. In October 2009, Microsoft launched its new OS called Windows7 which has triggered an altogether different quest for over-hauling the PC ecosystem”, says Teh. The Great Window7’s unveiling was followed by the high-profile launch of Intel’s 2010 Core Technology Processors (i3, i5, i7) across the globe. While AMD, the other major Silicon player is all set to introduce its 12 Core Opteron Server Processors. Naturally, the allied areas of motherboard, GPUs and memory modules have set for another round of innovation. However, the arena of HDDs gets the maximum inspirations from the technological developments taking place in the case of OS as well as processors. “For Seagate, opportunity comes from two directions—capacity up-gradation of existing IT assets as well as demand for fresh sets of HDDs.
Over the years, Seagate has been maintaining its core competency and has heavily relied on innovations. “The very mission of Seagate is focused on developing and delivering the most innovative storage products that produce trusted performance to our customers, maximizing sustainable profitability and driving shareholder value. We indeed lead in storing, protecting and storing world’s digital creations. We extend our technical leadership into emerging storage device technologies and products”, says Teh. “Let me tell you that innovation, reliability, partnership and efficiency are the guiding principles of Seagate globally”, adds he.
30 years of unflinching service
30 years back, Seagate enunciated its HDD operationas. Seagate, a grand-old storage company has maintained its youth and never tired of experimenting with innovation. “This is about timelessness”, says Teh. Established in 1979, the present Seagate opened its eyes as Shugart Technologies and kick-started its brilliant journey with 5 MB (Megabyte) ST-506 HDD (the first hard disk in 5.25” form factor). In 1992, the company came out with 2.5” HDDs.
By 1993, Seagate shipped 50 million HDDs in the world market. In 2002, the company demonstrated its Perpendicular Technology capability (which could support an areal density of 100 GB per square inch). In the eventful year 2002, the company delivered industry’s first Serial ATA disc drive—The Barracuda ATA V. In 2006, Seagate was named Forbes Magazine 2006 Company of the Year. In 2006 also, Seagate acquired Maxtor Corporation. In 2007, the firm shipped first hybrid hard drive, and by April 2008, Seagate shipped 1 billionth hard drive! In July 2008, the company launched first 1.2 TB (Terabyte) HDD. In December 2009, the company introduced its first enterprise-level of SSD product christened as ‘Pulsar’ in the world market. And the same also saw Seagate unveiling world’s probably the thinnest (7MM) 2.5” HDD for ultra-thin notebooks. “We’re simply proud of our achievements and are ecstatic to see the contribution we’ve made towards bridging the yawning digital gap on the planet”, says Teh.
For Seagate’s fortune, India has always played a vital role. But given the sheer demographics and the prevalent national quest for attaining inclusive growth, India offers unparalleled opportunity to Seagate as a company. “In more than a billion population, the PC penetration rate is still abysmal. But the way Central government and various state-governments have been putting a lot of efforts in making the entire country digitally competent, the HDD opportunity looks grandiose. The private initiatives along with those from corporate and business houses have accelerated the growth of computerization. But, still the coverage looks shallow. “For us, the country holds elevated promise”, says Rajesh Khurana, Country Manager, Seagate—India & SAARC. “India is key player of Seagate’s growth strategy as anticipated investment in IT infrastructure, of which storage is a key component, pick up pace. Indian enterprises will be looking to rationalizing their storage with adoption of newer technologies like storage virtualization, de-duplication, thin provisioning, and thin cloning, data storage is well on the way to recovery”, says Teh. “Seagate is confident that as the technology and market leader, it is well poised to be at the forefront of this potential market”, adds he. Whether it is sphere of servers, surveillance apps, desktops, notebooks, netbooks, or consumer electronics, Seagate offers the best of the breed HDD products to the Indian market.
Quality HDD products
In the enterprise HDD category, the company maintains an array of products for the Indian market. “The enterprise HDDs are expected to function in mission critical mode where the demand for rugged and highly reliable products has been increasing substantially”, says Khurana. Like other HDD categories, the ones meant for enterprise level of applications, mainly servers (tower servers, rack-mounted servers and blade servers) bring bets of technologies for the data-centric usage.
The Constellation family of Enterprise HDDs find applications in data intensive compute environments. Under this family, Seagate launched its 2TB enterprise HDDs christened as ‘Constellation ES’. “The 3.5” Constellation ES (7200-RPM) is a highly efficient enterprise storage with highest capacities, best-in-class reliability, leading 6Gb/s performance, optimized power and cooling and government grade security backed by Seagate’s Enterprise service and support”, says Khurana. The new HDD genre offers choice of mainstream 3Gb/s enterprise SATA interface as well as 6Gb/s SAS enterprise interface for a more reliable, scalable and sustainable high performance enterprise deployments. Coming in 500 GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities, the ‘Constellation ES’ carries the ‘Secure Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) Technology thereby, making the product government-grade storage phenomena. While 2.5” Constellation Hard Drives with Self–Encrypting Drive (SED) Technology offer the best combination of power savings, high capacity, high performance, rock-solid reliability security for value–based enterprise storage application needs.
In the same enterprise category, the ‘Savvio’ range of HDDs have been catering to the IT industry with great alacrity. The basic HDD flavours include Savvio 15K.2, Savvio 10K.4, and Savvio 10K.3. However, these Savvio HDDs are also available with ‘Secure Self-Encrypting Drive (SED) Technology. While the evergreen Cheetah range of HDDs have dedicatedly contributed to the needs of data-centres all across the globe. Models like Cheetah 15K.7, Cheetah 15K.5, Cheetah 15K.7 with SED Technology have done quite well in the market. However special mention may be made of Cheetah NS.2 10K (which comes with 600 GB as well) consumes 20 per cent lower power and reduces storage costs per GB. The drive has the industry’s highest reliability rating, reducing drive replacement costs. The Cheetah NS.2 drive includes Seagate ‘PowerTrim Technology’, which dynamically optimizes drive power consumption at all levels of activity. Under the traditional desktop HDD range of ‘Barracuda’, the model in ‘Barracuda ES.2’ has a wide applicability for enterprise usage. The ‘Barracuda ES.2’ is very suitable for applications like migration of mission-critical transactional data, from tier 1 to tier 2 (nearline) storage, where dollars/GB and GB/watt are a primary concern. “With energy-saving PowerTrim features, superior rotational vibration tolerance and a choice of SATA or SAS interfaces, the Barracuda ES.2 drive provides world-leading technology and value”, says Khurana.
Similarly, the desktop range of HDDs is heavily dominated by Barracuda series of HDDs. The recently launched, ‘Barracuda XT’ Desktop HDD is a massive 2-TB drive capacity providing enough of room for data-intensive applications including PC games and downloading of HD videos. The other model in ‘Seagate Barracuda 7200.12’ HDD combines proven technology and components with industry-leading manufacturing expertise to deliver up to 1 TB of sustainable desktop storage with 32-MB cache. While, Seagate Barracuda LP (low-power) family range of products are designed and built with the primary focus on a low-power, cool and quiet drive at an entry-level price. “This drive allows users to do more while using less power. The Barracuda LP drives deliver on low power consumption. But low power no longer means slow power”, says Khurana. In the notebook category, the Momentus range of products have mesmerized the global IT landscapes. Models including Momentus 7200, 7200 FDE, 7200 FDE, 7200 HDD (with G-Force Protection), 5400, 5400 FDE, and Momentus 5400 (with G-Force Protection). Meanwhile, Seagate has launched world’s thinnest HDD (3MM) HDD for ultra-thin notebooks in the world market.
Like other HDD vendors, Seagate offers a range of ‘external HDDs’ in the Indian market as well. If we talk of portable HDDs, Seagate’s famous FreeAgent range of products have captivated the imagination of Indian customers. So is the case with desktop HDDs (under the same Freegent product genre). “For us, external HDDs are one of the fastest growing product categories. With the exponentially growing digital contents at the disposal of general masses as well, products like FreeAgent External HDDs have been performing excellent”, says Khurana. However, Seagate has come with a highly innovative data back up product called ‘Replica’. “This is an amazing product. With stunning ease, it automatic backup for everything on your PC, including the operating system, programs, and settings”, says Khurana. “We see great Market opportunity for such a product in the Indian market” adds he. Also, as the entry-level NAS market is growing with fantastic pace, Seagate is all set to introduce its BlackArmour range of NAS solutions in India. The entertainment and CE product segment also holds great promise, and Seagate is all set to harness this.
For catering to the Indian market in totality, Seagate already offers the best of the breed post-sales warranty assurances. “We provide reliability not in terms of quality products alone, but in terms of impeccable product delivery as well as services”, says Teh. “Moreover, we translate technology leadership into top quality products”, adds Khurana.