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What happened?

Shares of Western Digital (NASDAQ:WDC) jumped as much as 13.9% higher in Wednesday's morning session. Before the opening bell, the data-storage veteran raised its financial guidance targets for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.

So what?

Western Digital's original first-quarter guidance called for adjusted earnings of roughly $0.88 per share on sales near $4.45 billion. The new bottom-line target points to non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) earnings of approximately $1.03 per share; revenue should stop closer to $4.5 billion. In short, earnings estimates were boosted by 17%, along with a 1% higher revenue target.

The integration of recently acquired solid-state storage specialist SanDisk is running ahead of schedule. Both sales and margins were helped by a surprisingly high-end product mix, allowing Western Digital to bank higher prices per unit sold.

Now what?

As a Western Digital shareholder myself, I'm obviously thrilled to see strong pricing trends driving solid business results. This guidance update should paint a fairly accurate picture of the underlying business trends, given that we're more than two months into the three-month reporting period.

Archrival Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX) also rose on Western Digital's news, gaining as much as 5.6% on Wednesday morning. Mind you, this may or may not be a correct market reaction. We don't know yet whether Western Digital's improving results were the result of company-specific operating discipline or a positive industrywide trend.

Industry barometers such as sales of PC and server systems are inconclusive. The complete picture is still a few weeks away -- both companies will report their final numbers near the end of October. Stay tuned to get a complete understanding of the storage industry's general health, and which way the balance of power is leaning nowadays.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.