Seagate offloads ClusterStor data-nomming plaything on Cray

An HPC product line is for life, not just for Christmas

The incredible shrinking Seagate business is selling its ClusterStor HPC array product line to Cray.

Little did we know that when we described Seagate's disk arrays business (ClusterStor and Dot Hill) as a "plaything" earlier this week, Seagate would agree, at least as far as ClusterStor is concerned, and is selling the product line to its main OEM, Cray.

The supercomputer company buys in ClusterStor product and bases its Sonexion arrays on it. Now Cray is buying the ClusterStor line for undisclosed terms and will:

  • Take on more than 100 employees and contractors in R&D, customer support and channel support
  • Support and enhance the ClusterStor product line
  • Support ClusterStor customers
  • Assume certain ClusterStor support obligations
  • Add ClusterStor to its DataWarp and Sonexion array product lines
  • Receive certain assistance from Seagate to provide support on existing service contracts

Seagate and Cray will collaborate on using Seagate technologies in future ClusterStor products.

Cray president and CEO Peter Ungaro said: "Building upon our long-term strategy and the amazing growth of data, storage is becoming more important in our market. With the push to exascale computing and the explosive growth in artificial intelligence, deep learning and analytics, the ability to integrate compute and storage into supercomputing systems is more critical than ever.

"Adding Seagate's ClusterStor product line to our DataWarp and Sonexion storage products will enable us to provide a more complete solution to customers."

Seagate Storage Systems Group VP and GM Ken Claffey, who is seeing off a major part of his product set, said: "In 2012 Cray became our first OEM and has continued over the years to be our largest and most strategic ClusterStor partner. Today's announcement is really the perfect evolution of that continuing, special partnership in HPC. As the leader in the supercomputing market, Cray will be a great home for the ClusterStor, employees, customers and partners."

Cray expects the net impact of the transaction to be in the range of breakeven for 2018, and transaction closing is set for late in the third quarter.


Seagate bought the Xyratex drive array and disk drive testing business in December 2013 for $374m. Cray was already a customer for Xyratex's ClusterStor HPC storage racks, which ran Lustre.

New arrays were developed and Seagate set up a Cloud Systems and Solutions Group "going beyond our leading disk drive business to deliver cloud systems and solutions for OEMs and do-it-yourself organisations" in November 2014. It also added a Hadoop connector hoping to get a ClusterStor foothold in big data analytics.

The idea was to vertically integrate upwards from disk drives and sell drive arrays as components to storage array suppliers such as HP and NetApp etc. using its ClusterStor and also August 2015-acquired Dot Hill OEM-supply drive array business. That cost $694m, meaning Seagate spent slightly more than $1bn buying its way into the disk drive array business.

In January 2015 Seagate head Steve Luczo, talking about ClusterStor, said: "I think that business will be on a billion-dollar run rate in a year from now."

Seagate won HP as a ClusterStor reseller in July 2015. SGI had become a ClusterStor OEM. IBM's Spectrum Scale parallel file system software was added to ClusterStor.

But Seagate's big ideas met falling revenues and lost out. The Xyratex factory in Havant, England, was closed in July 2016.

Now the chickens have come home to roost as Seagate sends Steve Luczo upstairs to be executive chairman, promotes COO Dave Mosley to be its CEO and sets out to lay off 600 people.

The ClusterStor sale signifies the probable end of Seagate's upwards vertical integration ideas. The future of the Dot Hill business must now have question marks around it. Seagate is in abrupt transition, but is it merely reacting to intense short-term pressures or does it have a plan to restart its growth engine?

Mosley has been a Seagate executive for several years and has Luczo looming over him as exec chairman. Can he make a break from the failed strategies of Luczo's years and get Seagate storming ahead again? ®

Other stories you might like

  • Ransomware encrypts files, demands three good deeds to restore data
    Shut up and take ... poor kids to KFC?

    In what is either a creepy, weird spin on Robin Hood or something from a Black Mirror episode, we're told a ransomware gang is encrypting data and then forcing each victim to perform three good deeds before they can download a decryption tool.

    The so-called GoodWill ransomware group, first identified by CloudSEK's threat intel team, doesn't appear to be motivated by money. Instead, it is claimed, they require victims to do things such as donate blankets to homeless people, or take needy kids to Pizza Hut, and then document these activities on social media in photos or videos.

    "As the threat group's name suggests, the operators are allegedly interested in promoting social justice rather than conventional financial reasons," according to a CloudSEK analysis of the gang. 

    Continue reading
  • Microsoft Azure to spin up AMD MI200 GPU clusters for 'large scale' AI training
    Windows giant carries a PyTorch for chip designer and its rival Nvidia

    Microsoft Build Microsoft Azure on Thursday revealed it will use AMD's top-tier MI200 Instinct GPUs to perform “large-scale” AI training in the cloud.

    “Azure will be the first public cloud to deploy clusters of AMD's flagship MI200 GPUs for large-scale AI training,” Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott said during the company’s Build conference this week. “We've already started testing these clusters using some of our own AI workloads with great performance.”

    AMD launched its MI200-series GPUs at its Accelerated Datacenter event last fall. The GPUs are based on AMD’s CDNA2 architecture and pack 58 billion transistors and up to 128GB of high-bandwidth memory into a dual-die package.

    Continue reading
  • New York City rips out last city-owned public payphones
    Y'know, those large cellphones fixed in place that you share with everyone and have to put coins in. Y'know, those metal disks representing...

    New York City this week ripped out its last municipally-owned payphones from Times Square to make room for Wi-Fi kiosks from city infrastructure project LinkNYC.

    "NYC's last free-standing payphones were removed today; they'll be replaced with a Link, boosting accessibility and connectivity across the city," LinkNYC said via Twitter.

    Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, "Truly the end of an era but also, hopefully, the start of a new one with more equity in technology access!"

    Continue reading
  • Cheers ransomware hits VMware ESXi systems
    Now we can say extortionware has jumped the shark

    Another ransomware strain is targeting VMware ESXi servers, which have been the focus of extortionists and other miscreants in recent months.

    ESXi, a bare-metal hypervisor used by a broad range of organizations throughout the world, has become the target of such ransomware families as LockBit, Hive, and RansomEXX. The ubiquitous use of the technology, and the size of some companies that use it has made it an efficient way for crooks to infect large numbers of virtualized systems and connected devices and equipment, according to researchers with Trend Micro.

    "ESXi is widely used in enterprise settings for server virtualization," Trend Micro noted in a write-up this week. "It is therefore a popular target for ransomware attacks … Compromising ESXi servers has been a scheme used by some notorious cybercriminal groups because it is a means to swiftly spread the ransomware to many devices."

    Continue reading
  • Twitter founder Dorsey beats hasty retweet from the board
    As shareholders sue the social network amid Elon Musk's takeover scramble

    Twitter has officially entered the post-Dorsey age: its founder and two-time CEO's board term expired Wednesday, marking the first time the social media company hasn't had him around in some capacity.

    Jack Dorsey announced his resignation as Twitter chief exec in November 2021, and passed the baton to Parag Agrawal while remaining on the board. Now that board term has ended, and Dorsey has stepped down as expected. Agrawal has taken Dorsey's board seat; Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor has assumed the role of Twitter's board chair. 

    In his resignation announcement, Dorsey – who co-founded and is CEO of Block (formerly Square) – said having founders leading the companies they created can be severely limiting for an organization and can serve as a single point of failure. "I believe it's critical a company can stand on its own, free of its founder's influence or direction," Dorsey said. He didn't respond to a request for further comment today. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022