What Storage Industry Consolidation Means for Applications Customers

Scalable partners at a higher price.
Written by Chris Kanaracus, Contributor

These are heady times for the storage industry of late. Consolidation signaled by Dell's pending $67 billion acquisition of EMC and Wednesday's announcement that Western Digital will buy SanDisk for $19 billion carries implications for applications customers.

Dell CEO Michael Dell said this week the combined company will be committed to its entire storage product line. As for SanDisk, Western Digital explained its rationale for the deal in a press release:

The combination is the next step in the transformation of Western Digital into a storage solutions company with global scale, extensive product and technology assets, and deep expertise in non-volatile memory (NVM). With this transaction, Western Digital will double its addressable market and expand its participation in higher-growth segments.

Overall, a lot of money and installed base is about to change hands in the storage world. What may not be immediately apparent, however is the fact there are implications for enterprise software customers as well, says Constellation Research analyst Holger Mueller.

"Storage matters for next-generation apps, as all use cases deal with big data scale," Mueller says. Flash storage is also key to accelerate the delivery of insights within applications, he adds.

"It's ironic: as storage gets cheaper and becomes commoditized, on the other side, data--which leads to storage--is more important than ever, determining where next generation-applications are being built," he adds.

The Bottom Line

Consolidation in the storage industry means software customers will have scalable partners for solid-state storage and other storage mediums, Mueller says. But the downside of excessive consolidation--potentially higher costs--is no different in this instance.

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