Hitachi GST is making a fresh attempt at entering the consumer storage market after its first abortive attempt in 2007, writes Samantha Sai for

Brenden Collins, Hitachi’s vice president of product marketing, dismisses the earlier attempt as one that "didn’t take off that well".

The latest move follows in the wake of Hitachi GST’s decision to acquire Fabrik Inc, which makes G-Technology external hard drive systems for Macintosh computers and SimpleTech systems for PCs.

While the financial terms of the acquisition haven’t been revealed, the Fabrik deal has been announced.

It is interesting to note that hard drive competitors Seagate Technology LLC and Western Digital Corp. and several other storage players including EMC Corp, seem to find the acquisition route an ideal means of entering the consumer storage product market.

Fabrik has renamed its Mozy product as Fabrik Ultimate Backup and has sold its option with SimpleTech systems.

The newly named product continues to provide its users with the 2GB free space and has retained the charge at $4.95 per month for unlimited online backups.

The company has also entered into a partnership with ArcSoft Inc for local backup software, so competing with EMC’s Iomega and Retrospect.

The drag-drop-store in Apple Mac or external devices feature for G-Technology has also been enabled.

Hitachi GST plans to run Fabrik as a standalone business and will allow all its partnerships continue even where the Fabrik partners compete with Hitachi’s external disk storage partners.

Brian Babineau, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, told Search Storage that such partnerships and relationships are becoming commonplace in the storage industry.

"There’s a new class of products emerging," he said. "You’re starting to see a blend of enterprise functionality, simplified and masked, as well as redundancy built in.

What’s interesting about these deals is to see how the simplified consumer solutions can then move upmarket."

Wolfgang Schlichting, IDC’s Research Director is concerned that Hitachi should not upset its traditional client base in the process of acquiring Fabrik.

"Hitachi is one of the last remaining hard drive manufacturers without its own branded external solution.

"They have to be careful not to upset their traditional client base, but that’s also the case with the other hard drive manufacturers."

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