EMC Corp. Earnings Call Nuggets: Hard Drive Constraints, Mix of Drive Configurations

On Thursday, EMC Corporation (NYSE:EMC) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Hard Drive Constraints

Deepak Sitaraman – Credit Suisse: Can you start by maybe just giving us an update on hard drive constraints? How did it impact EMC in the first quarter and is it expected to have an impact in the second? Also, just if you could comment on how the price increases you put into place in Q1 were received by customers and whether you saw any orders pushed out of Q1 that could potentially benefit later quarters?

Whose Wireless is the Fastest of Them All?

Joseph M. Tucci – Chairman and CEO: Let me take that answer. So, first of all, Q as to the drive suppliers are responding rapidly to a very serious situation and the quarter played out as we expected, they were constraints and there still are constraints specifically in nearline drives, but we’ve got the drives during the quarter we expected and needed to make our numbers albeit in the nearline space they came in a little later in the quarter end of February to early March and of course, as we said on the last call, we had to do some balancing during the quarter to meet supply and demand. We do expect there to be constraints certainly throughout Q2, but again we do have line of site to the drives that we need. We think there will be some incremental improvement in the second half, but certain classes of drives will see constraints throughout the entire year. On the price increase side, as you know, we did put drive price increases up between 5% and 15% in early January, and whilst nobody likes a price increase, so you can tell by our gross margins that we were able to capture the majority if not all those price increases. Given the supply constraints, we don’t expect there to be any significant reduction in prices in the near future, maybe towards the end of the year when the whole situation becomes a little bit more normal. Then final, in terms of orders, the good news is that although it took us a little longer this quarter to deliver some of the orders we took early in the quarter, we don’t think we lost orders and we don’t think that customers pushed out business, because I think everyone is in the same boat when it comes to drive availability, and I think if anything, we were better off than most.

Mix of Drive Configurations

Aaron Rakers – Stifel Nicolaus: Congratulations on the great quarter. Kind of sticking to the similar topic on the drive discussion; you guys obviously outlined that the price differential between flash and all the way down to nearline SATA drives. Can you talk a little about the mix of those drive configurations? Where we stand today and where you expect to be a year from now? Also on top of that, how we should think about that similar to the price discussion, the differential in the gross margin that EMC sees?

David Goulden – EVP and CFO: In terms of – yes right, you’re right. Right now when you look at what we ship in side arrays, the majority, the vast major part is between fiber and the SATA SAS type drives. Flash today is a small single-digit percentage, but the adage goes in the hybrid array a little flash goes a long way. What I mean by that is that you could improve the performance of an array dramatically by having, maybe less than 5% of the capacity in flash and using FAST software moving those hot data sets into the high-performing media types. So we see a small increase, and a steady increase going forward in the mix of flash, but we still think that the vast majority of capacity shifts for many, many years is going to be fiber and SATA. Within that a mix more towards SATA and less towards fiber, but we think that’s pretty much how things play out. Then from a margin point of view as Joe said, we’re fairly agnostic to the media type. In fact different media types are in fact good for us, because we can offer more choices and more price points to our customers. We are getting very broadly similar margins across those media types. So the mix shift in media is not going to have a material impact upon our gross margins.