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【Exclusive Interview】SanDisk: Promote Enterprise-level SSD and Look to Further Increase in the Chinese Market

Published Jun.25 2013,14:49 PM (GMT+8)

SanDisk, the global leading provider in flash memory storage solutions, has been transforming flash memory storage for 25 years. From a three-person start-up in Silicon Valley to a world-recognized brand with more than 4,800 employees, it has maintained a consistent commitment to advance technologies and meet its customers’ needs.

Recently, Ken Oberman, SanDisk’s vice president of WW business channel sales, visited China to discuss the matters relating to channel construction with Feda, which is one of the distributors in China. In the meanwhile, DRAMeXchange had the honor to take an exclusive interview with Ken. Let’s have a clearer understanding of SanDisk’s innovations in the rapidly changing market, as well as the views of the Chinese market.


A Good Partner on the Innovation Road 

Since its establishment, SanDisk has always been committed to the development of flash memory. On the road to innovation, SanDisk has become an equal partner with Toshiba since 2000.

They’ve cooperated very well in the flash memory design and manufacturing technology, which has greatly promoted not only the growth of each other, but also the development of the industry.  “It’s been one of the most successful joint venture relationships that exist in the market.” Mr. Oberman said proudly.

"Our cooperation relationship has always been based on flash memory technology, so we are always looking at the next generations, going from 24nm and now 19nm, and then to 1y nm, which is the next generation." Mr. Oberman said, "And every birth of a new technology or a smaller chip is a big investment, so this joint relationship works out very well.”


Promote Enterprise Data Center and Cloud Storage

In the retail market and OEM market, SanDisk's products have always been very strong. In recent years, the rapid development of enterprise data storage market has more stringent requirements for performance, data integrity, and reliability of enterprise-level SSD. SanDisk was a pioneer in this field that accumulated technology through several successful acquisitions.

In 2011, SanDisk acquired Pliant Technology, a provider of SSDs for enterprise computing. The acquisition strategically combined expertise of enterprise-level systems with SanDisk’s large-scale Flash memory production. "This was SanDisk’s initial entry into providing solutions for cloud storage and data center applications." Mr. Oberman said, "SAS- and PCIe-based products can be perfectly integrated into the entire enterprise cloud computing, so we introduced the Lightning 6Gb / s SAS enterprise SSD and Lightning PCIe enterprise solid State Accelerator (SSA). There will also be a series of new products based on PCIe and SAS interface next year. "

In the year of 2012, SanDisk continuously acquired two enterprise-class storage software developers, FlashSoft and Schooner Information Technology. The integrated solution of bundling hardware and software offers enterprise customers more value by allowing customers to improve performance with more cost effective storage configurations


The Comparison between SSD and Traditional Hard Disk

Today, traditional mechanical hard disk is still the main force in the storage market due to its high capacity and low price per GB. But it is pale in comparison with SSD from the aspects of transmission speed and stability, which becomes a bottleneck in its development of overall performance.

Mr. Oberman thinks that the relationship between SanDisk and other traditional hard disk manufacturers is very complementary. “Hard disks have high capacity, they are huge. But what the SSDs and what our software have is quicker access to that data. So, when you are browsing on a web page, and you want that quick access, most time it’s coming right from your SSDs. You have seen an evolutionary change of SanDisk, and by virtue of previous acquisitions, we are trying our best to become a quick access solution provider.”


Chinese Market is of Great Strategic Significance

As a global leading flash memory brand, SanDisk sells more than 2 million flash memory products each day, and provides corresponding solutions through about 250,000 retail stores and many other marketing channels around the world.

In China, SanDisk has established distribution channels in the retail and OEM businesses. However, as for the B2B business channel, there is a void in the mainland area before, for which they have done what they can to make progress. “We actually have one distributor today, and that’s Feda.” Mr. Oberman said, “We just started our cooperation roughly 6 months ago on the business channel. So we work closely with Feda and we are working closely to expand.”

During our conversation, Mr. Oberman emphasizes the importance of the Chinese market to SanDisk many times. “Over time we probably expand to more distributors. Because the Chinese market is huge and still growing, it is a strategic market for us.”

The accelerating pace of construction in China and the high demands of the server and cloud in storage are the reasons that SanDisk is looking forward to a bright future. “We will grow and drive the market, and this is what SanDisk and Feda want to achieve together.” Mr. Oberman said firmly.