Companies in this industry manufacture devices that allow the storage and retrieval of data from computers. Major companies include Dell EMC, NetApp, and Western Digital (all based in the US); Fujitsu, Hitachi, and Toshiba (Japan); and Seagate (Ireland), as well as the data storage divisions of large computer OEMs such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM.
Demand is driven by spending levels in the consumer and enterprise computing markets. The profitability of individual companies depends on operational efficiency and rapid product development. Large companies have advantages in development and marketing budgets, component purchasing power, and sales reach, as well as their ability to offer more comprehensive product lines. Because they typically serve a broader customer base, large companies may also be less vulnerable to declines in individual customer segments. Small companies can compete effectively by identifying underserved markets or providing superior technology. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 20 largest companies generate about 95% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major data storage system products include internal and external magnetic hard disk drives and optical disc (read-only, recordable, and rewritable CD, DVD, and Blu-ray) drives. Other products include magnetic tape storage systems and flexible magnetic (floppy) drives. Component devices may be used individually for personal storage applications or combined to form more complex storage systems for large-scale applications. Such systems, often referred to as mass storage, include magnetic disk arrays (systems combining multiple disk drives) and tape libraries.