Portable Storage industry has a buoyant future

Brad Bennett, Senior Channel Marketing Manager talks with Channel Post MEA about the future of the portable storage industry.

Why is Western Digital here and what are you showcasing?
We are here to showcase the Western Digital portfolio, the WD_ Black gaming portfolio as well as our new SanDisk Professional portfolio. These are the growth categories for us. The WD discover your drive, which is internals are for business applications.

Western Digital has also lined up a series of workshops for the GITEX week, such as the SanDisk’s Professional workshop. This new range targets small-time movie theater producers, professional videographers. It also serves giants like Netflix and Disney Plus. This live demo focused on the workflow, post-production workflows, etc. We then have Discover your Drive, where we highlight different applications for all the internal drives, from a gaming to a NAS Red Drive, to the WD Gold Enterprise storage drives. Then we have a dedicated enterprise workshop that discusses about the JBODs, there is a lot of proprietary technology in that and we want to showcase them to our channel.

How is Western Digital getting ready for the ‘Next Digital Universe’?
WD sees a lot of opportunities for enterprise and data solutions going forward. With people looking to store 4K and 8K videos the potential for the storage industry is tremendous. It’s said that over the next five years we would be generating as much data as we’ve created in the last 47 years. It also has a lot to do with the speed of the data that drives people to use lot more SSDs for instant data retention.

How does the company fight subscription-based cloud storage from giants like Google and Apple?
There are two angles to it. Firstly, the customers want to have the data with them all the time so they store it in the cloud and access it through a data package from where ever they are. This gives us the opportunity for our enterprise business services like the JBODs which we see to the server farms that in turn are used to manage these cloud services and in turn feeds into the subscription services. So the opportunity for data storage solutions always remains high.

The trend will remain with the cloud. People will want to have storage and access directly from the cloud. The difference is if people have their memories that they want to access quickly, then a portable hard disk or your portable SSD is still a very useful device to have. It’s small, sleek, and pocket-sized. Many of the hard drives or many of the SSDs you can actually connect directly to your phone to give you that instant access. So, there’s still a demand for that consumer, especially in some of the emerging markets where there the network remains patchy at times. So those people are still consuming a large quantity of external hard drive.

What’s new for the gaming industry?
We have a very broad portfolio of WD_Black, it was launched about five years ago and we’ve got from an external hard drive all the way through to an internal NVMe SSD for gaming. For the professional gamers, the recently launched P 40, It’s an external SSD that people can store games on and they can take them around and travel with them and offers up to 2000 mbps read speeds. And then we’ve got the SN 850 X NVMe internal SSD which offers up to 7300 megabytes per second read speed. So, it’s super-fast. These products are built with those professional gamers in mind, who doesn’t want no lagging at all.

What are the potential growth avenues for the Western Digital in the consumer category?
There’s always going to be growth. We see that because people are using their phones more and more as everyday device. The camera and the video on the mobile phone are becoming bigger in terms of storage. If you take a video, it’s consuming a lot of storage. Yes, phone’s internal storage is growing, but as people are using their camera or the video function, it’s filling up that storage and they need to find a way to transfer that storage. So, there we have a number of products, we have our SSDs, our dual drive and we have expanded for the iOS products where you can actually transfer that onto the drive and then save it on your desktop at home or put it on a hard drive for long term storage. So, we look at it in two ways. There’s a consumer that captures and shares and there’s a consumer that captures and backs up. So, your portable hard drive is more of a backup and be assured solution, whereas your SSD and your SanDisk micro SD or your USB is more of a transfer and share type of option that we are repositioning.