Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (hereafter referred to as HGST) just bought Fabrik, the company that produces and distributes consumer storage devices as SimpleTech and pro/AV storage using the G-Technology name.
We in the enterprise storage sector are all too familiar with the epic battles between Hitachi Data Systems (let’s call them HDS) and EMC, both providers of storage systems to the enterprise IT market. And last year EMC purchased consumer drive maker Iomega, pushing out some impressive storage systems that combine the best of both companies.
So is Hitachi’s combination with SimpleTech a response or challenge to EMC’s acquisition of Iomega? In a word, no.
First there is the small issue that HGST is an entirely different company from HDS. Both are subsidiaries of the massive Hitachi, Ltd. of Japan, but to conflate them into one company would be a disservice:
- HGST is much more like Seagate Technologies or Western Digital – a maker of hard disk drive mechanisms, the core components of modern data storage devices from the consumer to enterprise space.
- HDS is much more like EMC or NetApp – a maker of storage systems and software aimed at the enterprise IT market.
- Parent company Hitachi, Ltd. makes all sorts of stuff, from appliances to monorails (no kidding!) and so is much like Mitsubishi or Fujitsu.
Where EMC is actively expanding Iomega’s marketing into a supplier of tiny storage systems for entry-level IT and lab use, we shouldn’t expect the same synergistic offerings from HDS and SimpleTech or G-Technology. Instead, we should look at this as a response to Seagate’s purchase of Maxtor and Toshiba’s consolidation with Fujitsu’s disk unit: HGST will have a much better consumer channel for its disk drive mechanisms and will be better able to compete with those companies and Western Digital in places like Staples and Best Buy.
This is not to say that SimpleTech and G-Technology doesn’t compete with Iomega, mind you. In fact, Fabrik’s two brands were head-to-head with EMC’s little sister in just about every corner of their markets, and they make some cool devices for the SOHO market. Check out the [re]drive, G-Drive Mini SSD, and G-Speed XL if you don’t believe me!
Sounds like a win for them, but not a game-changer for enterprise storage.