Ironically, the introduction and growth of semiconductor memory will actually prolong the life of hard disk drives by acting as a buffer between the spinning physical disk and the host system. The idea of cache memory is nothing new, but adding several gigabytes of high-performance memory can reduce dependence on the spinning media.
It's also possible to include flash, RAM and platters on the same drive, effectively bringing tiered storage to the hard drive itself. These tactics may extend drive technology another 10 to 15 years. Beyond that, the physical hard disk may eventually be pushed out in favor of memory-only devices, as well as holographic storage technologies.
Go back to the beginning of the Disk Hardware FAQ Guide.