As we've established in our previous article, storage density is not going to increase any faster in the following years and as such, the performance bumps will be mediocre at best.
When it comes to hybrid drives, WD openly exposes Seagate’s rip-off, as the company admits the fact that a 20 to 1 ratio between the HDD media and the flash part inside a hybrid drive is needed to achieve the best results.
Considering the fact that Seagate’s hybrid drives only had a dismal 125 to 1 HDD to flash ratio, we can easily see why the company’s first foray into the hybrid market can be viewed as a rip off.
Add the fact that the overpricing was significant and you’ll get the real image about Seagate’s first lines of hybrid drives.
Agreeing with Intel that a 20:1 HDD capacity to flash capacity in a hybrid drive is needed for best performance result does not mean that WD’s hybrids will indeed feature that much more flash storage than Seagate’s current offering.
We can only hope that WD won’t slap its customers in the face like Seagate did, and that it will have pity on our wallets after digging so deep into them during the artificially created HDD crisis.
During WD’s Vienna conference there reportedly
was talk about 1 Terabyte Western Digital VelociRaptor drives that should make an appearance this year. The drives unfortunately won’t have higher density platters, but they will rather add an extra 333 GB platter.
There is another way to increase the performance of the HDD drives, and that’s building drives with two actuators. Such a concept was already presented by Connor Peripherals, the famous high tech provider for the HDD manufacturers.
The problem with such a device is the fact that the added manufacturing cost won’t probably be welcomed by the professional storage industry.
A hybrid VelociRaptor is also a possibility, as Western Digital’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Leyden said that: “Hybrid tech could be applied to any form factor and to any interface.”
While a VelociRaptor 1TB hybrid drive with a flash 50 GB of NAND storage would be nice, we get shivers thinking about the price of such a design.
The most of us believe that NAND is and should be the way out and, while such a solution might be desirable performance-wise, it is likely not going to happen anytime soon. The main reason for this is the investment cost rather than the end user price.
Although only 7% of the total storage capacity shipped last year was HDDs, the rest consisted in optical tape, NAND and DRAM.
While we can expect that NAND and DRAM don’t surpass the 5% level combined, we can easily see that tape storage takes care of most of the storage capacity demand.
There were 350,000 Petabytes worth of HDDs shipped last year, but only 20,000 Petabytes of NAND. This means that 1800% more SSDs must be manufactured to completely replace HDDs at this moment.
In the foreseeable future this ratio doesn’t seem to be changing significantly.
Western Digital’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Leyden said that around 400 billion dollars need to be invested in around 40 NAND FABs that, by making 8,800 Petabytes of NAND per year each, will be able to equal the HDD capacity currently produced by the current Seagate and WD duopoly.
Unfortunately, just like the last 10 years, nothing truly innovative is heading our way, except an unexpected high price and profit level from the new HDD global duopoly.