EDIT: 4/15/08 @ 827pm EST
After careful consideration, it has become apparent to me that putting myself in jeopardy of commenting on active litigation that (potentially) involves my employer isn’t a smart thing to do. That being said, I’ve decided to leave this content here, but with the following disclaimer:
The opinions expressed here are my personal opinions. Content published here is not read or approved in advance by EMC and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of EMC. The information I’ve presented below is through personal research through publically available news sources (news.google.com and other media outlets) and does not represent anything but a high level overview of the potential consequences of this lawsuit.
Previously, I had written about how Seagate was mulling over the idea of suing SSD manufacturers based on the perceived notion that they had violated their (Seagate’s) closely held patents on how a storage devices is accessed by and passes data to a discrete host. Today, in what I view as a delicious bit of irony, Seagate decided to sue STEC.
In a news entry @ Seagate (found here), they give a little blurb on how STEC invariably violates their patents and how they’re firing the first shot in a battle over IP. The little bit of irony that I see in this basically is this:
a.) Seagate is the largest provider of Fibre, SAS, SATA drives to EMC (and, if I’m not mistaken, other storage OEMs).
b.) Seagate stands to lose a bit of money if the SSDs are rapidly adopted in the EMC Symmetrix platform (and other enterprise class storage arrays, mind you). Now, this may not be appreciable at first, but as SLC/MLC flash continues to drop in price, the pricing battle will become even more noticable.
c.) STEC is the leader in high-speed, high-IOP SSDs on the market. mTron/BitMicro are a distant second, with their primary focus on pro-sumers and early adopters.
What also makes the corners of my mouth tingle a little bit is how Western Digital, with its acquisition of Komag last year, stands to come into a potential power play if Seagate alienates some of its larger OEM partners with this lawsuit shenanigans. Since Komag is responsible for creating the disk platters that reside in most some of the disk drives out there, WD could create a little firestorm of themselves by dinking around with platter pricing.
All in all, this is my take: EMC might be in the unenviable position of paying royalties to Seagate for using STEC’s SSDs in their Symmetrix arrays, further increasing the end-user costs. With this in mind, how about a little “racetrack memory” to solve this problem? 😉
What do you think?