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SSD demand boosts SanDisk revenue

Posted: 22 Apr 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:SanDisk  SSD  hard drive  data centre  NAND flash 

SanDisk Corp. has made some noise when it predicted its gross margins would climb to 49 per cent. The company led the S&P 500 rankings midday Thursday, April 17, with a 9.3 per cent surge in stock price showing that its mix of high-end enterprise and low-end mobile storage products fit all the right niches in a storage market.

The $1.51 billion in revenue Sandisk reported for Q1 was just 1.3 per cent above analyst expectations, but its projected profit was 71 per cent higher than the same period last year at $1.44 per share, blowing away the $1.25 per share Wall Street expected.

The main reason for the big surprise was the increasing demand for solid-state drive (SSD) to replace or enhance hard drives in laptops and, most especially, in servers and high-performance storage devices in corporate data centres.

Only 20 per cent of gross revenues came from the sale of enterprise SSDs during 4Q13, and only 10 per cent in 2012, according to Forbes.

Gradually dropping prices for all types of NAND flash storage helped boost sales of SSD overall, SanDisk CFO Judy Bruner said on a conference call with analysts.

That helped sales of SanDisk flash ships embedded in USB devices and smartphones, including the Apple iPhone 5 for which it supplies microSD cards, as well as raising the demand for SSDs.

Sales of SSDs for desktop and laptop computers grew 19 per cent during the first calendar quarter of this year, according to

Sales of enterprise SSDs, designed for hybrid disk-and-flash storage or for all-solid-state-arrays, especially for performance-sensitive cloud-services companies, grew from 5.44 million units in 2012 to 9.52 million in 2013 and are on track to hit 13.8 million during 2014, according to market-analyst firm

The August 2013 acquisition of Smart Storage Systems helped SanDisk keep up with the volume required in the growing market for NAND memory.

SanDisk took advantage of the shift and the increasing emphasis on cloud computing by introducing a series of SSD-based products called CloudSpeed Serial ATA, which are based on high-performing 19nm-process SATA SSDs designed to stand up to 10 full-drive writes per day, are guaranteed for five years, and come in sizes of between 100GB and 800GB per unit.

SSDs are not, as Samsung implies in its CloudSpeed press release, the future of storage in the cloud or data centre, according to Jim Handy, director of analyst firm Objective Analysis.

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