(MU) Micron Technology Announces Self-Encryption Secures RealSSD C400

Micron Technology Inc. (MU) recently unveiled the newest version of RealSSD C400 with a Self-Encrypting Drive (SED). The latest iteration of the highly coveted solid state drive (SSD) is the memory chip manufacturer’s means to woo desktop and laptop users.

Released in January this year, RealSSD C400 features the advanced 25 nanometer NAND flash technology and a SATA 6.0 Gbps interface. It will be available in both 1.8″ and 2.5″ form-factors in sizes ranging from 64GB to a more sizeable 512GB. The company avows that this SSD will be pocket worthy owing to its spacious data capacities.

Keeping in mind the growing demand for data security, Micron has added the SED feature to its RealSSD C400. This is a special, security-focused firmware and hardware-based encryption support that provides solid defense against data theft. The firmware abides by the TCG Opal specification, the industry yardstick of data security that companies fall back on for self defense when their devices or drives are lost or stolen. The shipment of C400 SED will commence sometime during the fourth quarter with varying capacities of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.

With this latest release, Micron is in the company of self-encryption disk drive manufacturers such as Hitachi Ltd. (HIT), Seagate Technology plc (STX), Samsung and Toshiba.

Though Micron’s C400 SED is expected to draw user attention, we expect it to face stiff competition from Intel Corp.’s (INTC) latest 510 Series of SSDs that have similar features like SATA 6.0 Gbps interface and NAND Flash Memory-based SSD technology. It is available in the 2.5″ form-factor in sizes ranging from 120GB to 250GB. The SSD 510 Series expedites storage input and output time in desktops, workstations and notebooks, thereby enhancing system performance.

However, keeping aside competitive issues, we are positive on Micron’s growth opportunity from its diversification to NAND flash technology, the most coveted technology these days.

On the other hand, the falling prices of DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) have led most of the industry players to opt for a production cut, which the analysts believe could lead to some stabilization in pricing and bring a balanced supply/demand environment by this year end.

We think that competition from SanDisk Corp. (SNDK), the legal tussle with Rambus Inc. (RMBS) and weakening PC sales could rationalize Micron’s growth story a bit.

Micron Technology has a Zacks #3 Rank, implying a short-term Hold recommendation.

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