Seagate Says Future is Hybrid HDD, Not Pure SSD

When Steve Jobs debuted the new MacBook Air laptops last week, he said that the new products were what Apple felt were the future of the notebook. Likely he meant that laptops would be shipping with SSD rather than HDD storage.

We love SSDs and we think that they're quite at home inside mobile computing devices, but Seagate doesn't see the industry moving to full solid-state storage.

During a Seagate conference call, CEO Steve Luczo, said that he doesn't see SSDs as being the future. While that sounds funny coming from the leader of a storage company, remember that Seagate isn't heavily invested in SSD technology as some other companies who have feet deep in flash memory.

Luzco also said that he owns a previous-generation MacBook Air with an SSD, but he's frustrated at the lack of storage capacity inside the machine.

Check out the Seeking Alpha transcript for the full call.

Well look, I mean obviously Steve sits in a position that only Steve sits in, in terms of the offering that they provide to their customers and its obviously pretty [compelling]. I would say though that from what we know of the offering for example Apple, the percentage of their units that they sell with SSDs versus HDDs is a tiny fraction. I think it’s under 3%, certainly under 5%. Obviously this isn’t the first product that they’ve had. I have an Air book with an SSD unit that I’ve had for I guess a year and half now. And I think, there are certain things that are certainly very nice about it. And other things that are little bit frustrating and a little bit frustrating parts are the cost and the lack of capacity.

I spend a lot of time cleaning out files so I can make room for not a lot of content to be honest with you. I think are there some users that can operate net environment and be happy, I think the answer is yes but I think as Seagate introduced hybrid drive last quarter, you get basically the features and function of SSD at more like disc drive cost and capacity. And in fact with the additional layer of cashing we believe that, downstream from a product perspective there will be performance advantages to SSD whether or not that has to do with instant on or application load or what a load looks like year or two after you, you have your product versus that day you buy it.

I can tell you that my SSD drive takes about 25, 30 seconds to boot now versus the 12 seconds when I bought it. And that’s just an issue more related to OS than it is specifically to the technology but again with the hybrid there is things that you can do it alleviate that so your boot times are actually as compelling one and two, three and four years down the road.

So I think that’s where mainstream notebook computing is going if that’s what your question is no I don’t, do I think that Apple will be [successful] with that product absolutely, because Apple is successful with all their products. And so it’s a very compelling company and a compelling value proposition within their value chain. But again we just view it as more devices that are computing in eating data and if they’re low capacity on the edge that means they need a lot of storage pipe and down close to the edge and whether not that’s in a mash box or code in the cloud or in a local cloud. Those are all markets that we serve. So the more that people do creative things with computers and devices were all four and Steve certainly at the forefront of that.

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  • Darkerson
    If thats what they think, then they need to step it up some. So far all we have from them is a hybrid drive with a paltry 4GB of flash. That and its in a 2.5" form factor. How about making some 3.5" drives with an actual decent amount of flash inside.
    16
  • yellowblue
    Of course they are biased since they are not a SSD company. As network bandwidth grows, hardisk will be on NAS / home servers while SSD will drive the gadgets / laptops and PCs.
    13
  • Other Comments
  • Darkerson
    If thats what they think, then they need to step it up some. So far all we have from them is a hybrid drive with a paltry 4GB of flash. That and its in a 2.5" form factor. How about making some 3.5" drives with an actual decent amount of flash inside.
    16
  • yellowblue
    Of course they are biased since they are not a SSD company. As network bandwidth grows, hardisk will be on NAS / home servers while SSD will drive the gadgets / laptops and PCs.
    13
  • executor2
    If Intel lunches the new 600GB SSD as in the leaked charts posted in TH , I bet the future is SSD . By the way I own a 250 GB Western Digital and I am very happy about that " limited " space
    3