Solid-state storage finds its niche


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Disk futures
The storage industry is moving into a period of uncertainty. After averaging 100% annual increases in hard disk areal density, the rate has dropped to 40% annually, says Janukowicz. The HDD industry is now looking beyond perpendicular disk designs to heat-assisted and bit-patterned approaches. These nascent technologies promise to boost HDD areal density to the multiterabyte range; however, they involve new processes, designs and tooling that will change the cost dynamics of the industry.

Meanwhile, the SSD industry continues to ride Moore's Law to 100% a year improvements for flash, notes Janukowicz. The result is a steadily narrowing capacity gap that will reduce the cost differential between HDD and SSD over time. Yet IDC doesn't foresee a crossover point where SSD becomes cheaper than HDD on a cost-per-gigabyte basis.

For storage managers facing critical storage performance problems and where maximum IOPS counts, the emergence of SSD as a feasible enterprise option is encouraging. For everyone else, the HDD-SSD issue remains an interesting sideshow that bears watching.



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This was first published in November 2007

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