Over the past year, there has been a very fast increase in the popularity and widespread adoption of solid state drives, to the point where HDD sales, at least on the enterprise front, declined. This phenomenon has occurred because SSDs are starting to gain higher storage capacities and are already much faster than platter-based solutions. Despite this, however, analysts foresee a renewed growth for HDDs and continued dominance on the server and data-center markets.
According to IDC (International Data Corporation), even though certain factors will continue to affect enterprise HDD marketing performance, yearly shipments will continue to increase. With the shift from performance-optimized to cost-optimized solutions, and with SSDs becoming complementary storage solutions (thanks to their speed), shipments will rise from last year's 40.5 million to 52.6 million by 2014. However, the popularity decline of more expensive solutions will lead to an HDD revenue increase of only 1.7% CAGR during the same period.
In addition to the focus on cost efficiency, HDDs will continue to transit from the 3.5-inch form factor to the 2.5-inch one. This process should be completed by 2012. Price per gigabyte of performance-optimized units will also keep dropping at a rate of 20%-30% per year. On the other hand, the industry is expected to ship more Petabytes for enterprise applications, in the next two years, than it did in the previous two decades.
"We're definitely seeing intensive cost cutting measures among end users striving to bring more efficiency to current solutions," John Rydning, research director for Storage Mechanisms: Disk, said. "The employment of technologies such as data deduplication, thin provisioning, storage multitiering, and storage virtualization are all contributing to reducing end-user costs."
A final observation that IDC makes is in relation to the phenomenon known as cloud computing. Apparently, the interest in storage as a service or storage in the cloud is rising quite rapidly. This should lead to a higher storage demand on Internet datacenters.