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Western Digital continues buying spree by snapping up Tegile

That's one way for a storage array business to avoid an IPO

After dropping $1.4bn to try to buy Toshiba’s stake in the WDC-Toshiba flash foundry joint-venture, WDC has just bought the Tegile storage array business. Oh, and it bought the Upthere cloud consumer storage business for a guesstimated $100m-plus yesterday as well.

Tegile sells IntelliFlash-branded hybrid flash/disk and all-flash array products, which have just had an NVMe drive technology infusion. It was founded in 2010 and has received $178m in funding, some of it from WDC.

The two have signed a definitive agreement for WDC to buy Tegile, and so, WDC gains the Tegile company, its product line and employees, together with more than 1,700 new-to-WDC customers. It will be folded into WDC’s DataCenter Systems (DCS) business unit, run by SVP and GM Phil Bullinger, which already sells big data-class object storage such as the ActiveScale and Active Archive arrays.

Why buy Tegile?

Why does WDC want to enter the storage array business?

Mike Cordano, WDC president and COO, has a canned quote about this: “The Tegile acquisition will fit perfectly in Western Digital’s long-term strategy to deliver high value solutions that address customers’ rapidly evolving storage needs. The addition of Tegile’s technology and talented team will advance our goal of solving customers’ most significant challenges in capturing, preserving, transforming and accessing data.”

Bullinger had one as well: “By combining Tegile’s innovative storage system software with Western Digital’s global scale and combination of components and systems, we expect DCS to capture a sizeable share of flash array demand. Western Digital is focused on the systems business and this is a significant step forward in advancing our long-term strategy.”

Tegile CEO Rohit Kshetrapal added: “Western Digital has been a key partner and long-term investor in Tegile and has already enhanced various aspects of Tegile’s business, including engineering integration, HDD/SSD supply chain efficiencies, go-to-market efforts and customer support.”

In a nutshell, WDC says the acquisition is expected to accelerate the DCS business unit’s revenue growth as Tegile’s high-value, high-growth flash storage arrays complement existing DCS products and can be marketed to Western Digital’s global customer base.


All the existing on-premises storage array system (HW + SW) vendors will face renewed competition from WDC+Tegile, which means:

  • Mainstream players
    • Dell EMC
    • NetApp
    • HPE
    • Pure Storage
    • IBM
    • HDS
    • Kaminario
    • Tintri
    • Infinidat
  • NVMe-fabric-class newbies
    • Apeiron
    • E8
    • Excelero
    • Pavilion Data Systems
    • Micron's SolidScale
    • Mangstor
    • X-IO
  • Others
    • DataDirect Networks' HPC-stye arrays
    • Cray's HPC storage
    • Seagate's Dot Hill
    • WDC's ActiveScale and Active Archive big data arrays
    • Nexsan arrays

Including WDC-Tegile there are now ten mainstream primary data storage array vendors, seven NVMe fabric-class array suppliers and at least five other vendors.

The on-premises storage array market is under attack from hyper-converged systems on the one hand, and public cloud storage on the other, and a total of at least 22 suppliers in the on-premises array market would seem too many.

El Reg expects some consolidation in this field, as weaker players get pruned and stronger ones look to bolster their product lines. We might imagine both IBM and HDS looking to do some product line bolstering, with Infinidat, Kaminario and Tintri all looking like possible acquisition targets.

The WDC-Tegile acquisition is set to close in the week of September 4 2017, subject to closing conditions. ®

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