There’s an interesting article on buyouts this year in Storage Newsletter and a look at some of the biggest buyouts in data storage history. What I found most interesting is what the buyouts say about industry trends.

For example, look at the buyouts in disk drives in the 1980s and 1990s, when most of the drive companies were consolidates. Of course there were a few drive company holdouts that were snapped up in the 2000s, like Hitachi’s purchase of IBM disk drive group and WD buying Hitachi. SSD technology buyouts really perked up in 2012 and 2013 – and as far as I can tell are showing no signs that they are slowing down. This was one of my storage predictions back at the start of 2013 and I do not think it will stop in 2014.

Over time you can see trends in buyouts as they relate to various technologies. Clearly WD has been on a buying spree over the last few years. And since Seagate purchased Xyratex we might be seeing a new trend where drive vendors start to buy again and maybe enter new markets. WD’s purchase of Hitachi disk drive division did not seem much different than when Hitachi purchased the IBM disk drive group, but the purchase of Stec, Virident and other technologies strikes me as a change of direction. Of course both are SSD vendors but Virident makes PCIe cards, and though Seagate resold a PCIe card they did not make one.

I believe most things in the data storage industry are cyclical. The major disk drive consolidation of the 1980s and 1990s might repeat itself with Seagate and WD buying companies and expanding beyond the traditional disk drive market. Only time will tell, but with some of the changes happening on the CPUs side of the equation I would not be surprised.

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