Canadian system builders and resellers now have another source for buying Hitachi hard drives for storage arrays and PCs.

Synnex Canada has picked up the entire line of Hitachi

drives from its Global Storage Technologies division as the manufacturer tries to increase its small market share here.

Jim Estill, the distributor’s chief executive officer, said that while it already carries hard drives from most leading manufacturers, he is most interested that Hitachi’s lineup includes enterprise-class drives.

“The high-end storage market is fairly hot,” he said. “From a reseller’s perspective it’s great to get into a market that’s growing at 30 to 40 per cent a year.”

Hitachi already had a U.S. distribution deal with Synnex Canada’s parent, Synnex Corp.

The deal covers one-inch, 2.5-in and 3.5-in. drives, known as the Microdrive, Travelstar, Deskstar, Enduastar and Ultrastrar product lines.

With the deal Hitachi now has two major hard drive distributors here. The other is Bell Microproducts.

According to Jennifer Ewan, a storage analyst at Evans Research, Hitachi’s sales here are lagging behind better-known names.

In the first quarter of this year, Hitachi had a sizable market share in only one of the three sizes tracked by the market research company.

There were 507,000 hard drives sold in that quarter. In the 3.5-in. drive market, Maxtor held a 33 per cent share, followed by Western Digital with 28 per cent and Seagate with 23 per cent. Hitachi was fifth with three per cent.

In the 2.5-in. market, Fujitsu owned 51 per cent of the market, with Hitachi second with 20 per cent and Samsung with 18 per cent.

In the SCSI drive market, Seagate dominated with about 75 per cent of the sales.

Recently it’s been aggressively pricing its 3.5-in. drives, she said trying to increase sales. Traditionally, Hitachi’s major market has been OEM manufacturers, she said, a strategy boosted when the company bought IBM’s hard drive division over a year ago.

Combined with the popularity of better-known brands such as Seagate and Maxtor, it has had trouble pushing into the components business.

Hitachi also doesn’t seem to have paid much attention to the Canadian market, she said. The Synnex Canada deal “may signal a change.”

Estill said in the near future Synnex Canada will host storage seminars for its partners to help boost Hitachi sales. In addition, staff has been dedicated to generating demand for the Hitachi line. “They’ll help resellers figure out how to sell it,” he said.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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