Western Digital’s research and development center has witnessed growth in the recent past and has been instrumental in leading technology innovations. Speaking to The Quill, Siva Sivaram, Executive Vice President of Silicon Technology and Manufacturing for Western Digital and Supria Dhanda, Vice President and Country Manager for Western Digital, India shared insights on the India R&D center accelerating innovation, attracting talent and driving company expansion.
Post the acquisition of SanDisk in 2016, the India R&D center for Western Digital has become one of the key engineering sites globally. The center contributes significantly to the overall innovations in the enterprise, embedded and consumer storage technology segments.
Siva Sivaram says, “As the market demand grows for higher storage capacity in more compact form factors, the company has leveraged the power of flash technology and created the world’s first 3D NAND technology with 96 layers of vertical storage capability.” Western Digital’s WD Black 3D NVMe SSD, also developed on vertically integrated SSD platform, is optimized to Western Digital 3D NAND, resulting in low latency, power efficiency, and compatibility with the growing range of applications benefitting from NVMe. The 400GB SanDisk microSD card is also a revolutionary solution developed in India. As of its release, it was the world’s fastest UHS-I flash memory card. Along with Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe)-enabled SD cards, these cards are designed to deliver the performance required for the next wave of data and content-intensive applications. Siva says, “The company is constantly introducing products with innovation to keep up the market standards, and the same idea is followed in India. India will continue to play a key role in enabling Western Digital’s growth in storage platforms and systems.”
The technology developments driven out of India have also helped in attracting great talent to the company. “The India facility has grown from just above 1000 employees in 2016 to over 2300 employees currently,” said Supria Dhanda. She says that talent development is key to bring about growth, and diversity plays an important part in the hiring process.
Supria who has been part of the Western Digital’s journey for a while now, has had successful hiring and key leadership activities in her portfolio, which accelerated the company’s growth in the country. The company has been focusing on gender parity and has increased the hiring percentage of female candidates over the past four years. “Creating awareness as well as enabling women to feel that they are a very essential element of the company makes the organizational culture inclusive and creates innovative impact”, she said. The company also focuses on providing timely training to ensure that the employees are brought up to speed with the innovations in the industry. Western Digital’s internship scheme which spans from 6 months to a year is also a key program for talent development.
Everywhere data requires different kinds of storage solutions and the company is working towards bringing the best of developments from India for the global market.
The company’s acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (HGST), Tegile and G-Technology, has opened ways to cater some varied industry verticals, making it a universal storage solutions provider with strong worldwide presence. With over 14,000 patents, the company has one of the top impactful patents portfolios worldwide