Seagate has invested in Virident and now Western Digital invested in Skyera. Does that mean that the big disk players are picking and choosing the winners of SSD market?

Also of course you might remember the rumor that OCZ was going to be purchased by Seagate back last summer? The question I’m asking myself is: will the disk drive makers gobble up the available SSD makers over the next year and speed up the market consolation?

Disk drive vendors have a major advantage over the SSD-only vendors. Things like single ASIC for SAS and SATA, economies of scale for firmware development, and broad understanding of testing and the know-how to make sure things work under adverse conditions.

So is this a good thing or bad thing? The more I think about it I fall down on the side of a good thing. Just five short years ago pundits were saying the disk drive and disk drive makers were going to bow to the new flash overlords, but it did not happen that way, did it?

Now the disk drive makers are in the driver’s seat and the SSD vendors are clamoring for cash as vendors regularly miss their financial targets. I suspect that over the next 10-12 months we will see a number of SSD vendors get purchased. The investments made by the disk drive vendors are in my mind a kind of “try and buy.” And clearly the SSD vendors need the cash or they would not be taking it and diluting the stock and VC firms’ investments.

I think that all of this is a good thing in terms of new products coming to market and they will be well tested. Of course it is still to be determined if this will make the prices higher or lower. There are economies of scale as I mentioned, but there will be a lack of competition.

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