Idema Launching Storage Technology Alliance for R&D Collaboration

Hitachi GST, Seagate and WD founding members
This is a Press Release edited by on 2010.08.16

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With founding members Hitachi GST, Seagate Technology, and Western Digital, IDEMA is launching Storage Technology Alliance (STA).

The purpose of the organization is the formation of collaborative joint research initiatives among and between storage industry participants, customers, suppliers, universities and laboratories. Through an expansion of fundamental research, STA will shorten the time from innovation to productization while maintaining a competitive marketplace. Forecasted continued high demand for storage offers tremendous opportunities for participants and the industry as a whole. Successfully addressing commercial and consumer demand requires continual technology advancements.
Significant challenges inherent to future storage technologies have proven too costly, risky, and unmanageable for any single company to pursue alone. Groundbreaking cooperation is now required to support affordable R&D spending and to sustain technical progress. Storage Technology Alliance will be an optimized, industry-directed framework for a storage industry research strategy that would create and direct cooperative research endeavors across the supply chain. These will include (but are not limited to) university level research, common specifications and terminology for new components or manufacturing tools, collaborative working groups on future technologies, and joint development projects.

Utilizing IDEMA's lean operating structure, members of STA will experience the highest possible level of execution, oversight, cost management, and return on investment. STA will also seek financial support from governments and associated laboratories.

There are several critical advantages to this approach:

  • Expanded funding of university research: STA will expand investment in university research projects, focusing on critical areas of next-generation storage technologies.
  • Direct oversight by industry technical executives, providing leadership on how projects are determined, how projects are scoped, scheduled, executed, and measured; and how funds are administered, including to universities, foundations, or organizations.
  • Efficient organizational structure: Led by an Executive Council, STA will employ a simple, high-touch organizational structure that will ensure the appropriate people are in place to manage projects.
  • Storage industry roadmap: The lack of a sanctioned roadmap has resulted in suboptimal supply chain tuning. STA will sustain a storage industry roadmap the details of which will be the property of STA member companies.
  • IDEMA's global network ensures broad participation: IDEMA's membership spans the entire value chain to include HDD suppliers, equipment companies, component suppliers, storage device customers, and material vendors. This breadth and depth will give immediate and profound scale and commitment to STA.

STA membership is open to all of IDEMA's 200+ members worldwide. IDEMA will provide a detailed information package on STA in September.

Our Comments

"Shorten the time from innovation to productization" is a good idea for the HDD vendors, but "while maintaining a competitive marketplace" has to be demonstrated. STA will have to be careful that companies not involved in the new alliance will not be harmed, with the risk of lawsuit for R&D agreement that may affect the competition.