Mark Re

Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer Sea­gate

HWM (Singapore) - - Think - BY JAMES LU

What is the role of Sin­ga­pore's of­fices in Sea­gate's global op­er­a­tions? We have four drive de­sign R&D cen­ters - two in Asia and two in the U.S. - and we di­vide them into dif­fer­ent key mar­ket seg­ments. The par­tic­u­lar fo­cus of the R&D center in Sin­ga­pore is around mo­bile and con­sumer ap­pli­ca­tions.

What the team here does is 2.5inch drives and they are fo­cused on very thin for­mats of those drives. The one we just re­leased, the 5mm thick Lap­top Ul­tra­thin HDD, was the re­sult of the team here. And the other area that the group here works on, which is spread across our prod­uct port­fo­lio, is hy­brid drives. Speak­ing of the Ul­tra­thin Lap­top HDD; how will this prod­uct de­velop? What we try to do, gen­er­a­tion upon gen­er­a­tion, is to im­prove the ca­pac­ity of the hard disk drive. And there’s two ways of do­ing that, we can put in more plat­ters, which is hard to do in a 5mm drive. The other way is to grow the den­sity of the plat­ter, which means in­creas­ing the num­ber of bits we can store per area of disk.

The other thing I think they would do is con­tinue to work on the me­chan­ics and al­go­rithms to keep the prod­uct phys­i­cally ro­bust, so We demon­strated this tech­nol­ogy on a drive with a stor­age ca­pac­ity of 1 ter­abit per square inch back in March last year (drives to­day are ship­ping with a stor­age ca­pac­ity of 700 Gi­ga­bit per square inch). Last year our CEO, Stephen Luczo, gave a pre­sen­ta­tion to Wall Street an­a­lysts on a HAMR drive. You can ex­pect drives us­ing this tech­nol­ogy to be avail­able prob­a­bly in the mid­dle of this decade or around 2016. What are the chal­lenges in bring­ing this tech­nol­ogy to the mar­ket? We've no­ticed that your stats are now in fa­vor of stor­age vol­ume shipped in­stead of num­ber of drives shipped. Is in­dus­try de­mand shrink­ing? How do you en­sure you main­tain your rev­enue earned when the num­ber of drives sold is re­duc­ing and that the prices of the drives are also fall­ing? Prices have not been fall­ing like they have his­tor­i­cally, es­pe­cially since the floods in Thai­land a few years back. Since that time, along with some con­sol­i­da­tion that has hap­pened, the in­dus­try is a lot healthier. Prices are pretty flat lately. Even though we ship the same num­ber of units, they have greater stor­age ca­pac­ity, and we get paid more for those, so rev­enues and mar­gins have held up pretty well.

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