Catch up time: Toshiba unveils enterprise disk drive strategy

Toshiba aims to catch up with its competitors in storing enterprise unstructured or nearline data.

The company revealed details of its disk drive strategy in a presentation by Hiroshi Fukuchi, CEO of Toshiba Electronic Device and Storage Corporation, at an investors’ day last month.

Toshiba makes 2.5-inch client drives and 3.5-inch enterprise drives. It leads the 2.5-inch market but is third behind Seagate and Western Digital in the enterprise market.

Fukuchi said HDD purchases by hyperscaler customers started to rise in Q1 2019 and he projected a market recovery in the second half of its fy20 year as US operators invest for 5G and new services.

Net HDD sales were 578bn yen ($5.31bn) in fy18 and 480bn yen ($441bn) in fy19. The company forecasts 570bn yen ($5.23bn) revenues in fy21 and 650bn yen ($6.05bn) in fy23.

Toshiba aims to grow its stake in the enterprise market by building high-capacity nearline drives – 20TB and beyond.

Currently nearline drives make up less than 10 per cent of its enterprise drive shipments, and it aims to ramp this up to more than 50 per cent.

Toshiba will widen its video surveillance drive range and launch better drives for small and medium-size data centres.

The general technology strategy is to deliver helium-filled 18TB drives in fy2020, and 20TB and 20+TB ones from fy2021 onwards with 10 platters. It will introduce energy-assisted magnetic recording and shingled magnetic recording on the platters to achieve these capacity levels.

Blocks & Files sees Toshiba coming from behind in enterprise 3.5-inch disk drives and pushing for higher revenues by catching up with Seagate and Western Digital’s capabilities.