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Do Tablets and Smart Wireless Devices Mean the End of HDD?

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It's always good to check back in on long-standing tug-of-wars, after all, someone might have fallen in the interim.  What of the data storage topic lately, you might be wondering, as we have here at MarketWatch. Why ask this now?  Quite simply because with all the various PC versus tablet and smart wireless devices (SWD) betting going on, the HDDs and SSDs, respectively, are obvious sentries who are caught in the design center of this bigger battle.


It's obvious that tablets and SWDs are not only here to stay, but the way that we now access data and expect our interfaces to operate and be customizable is not going to revert to an out-of-the-box, one-size-fits-all package anymore.  So, as go SWDs in penetration rates, there go SSDs because NAND flash is part and parcel of how and why these devices are just so responsive and allow us the anywhere anytime connectivity to our multimedia data.  With the slowdown in PC purchases in the CE market, it's not that HDDs, along with PCs are hearing an immediate death knell, (although some commentaries would have you believe so), but rather that the scales are simply tipping.

Perseverance of HDDs is guaranteed for quite some time.  Why so confident a forecast?  Simple: enterprise data storage.  Even as many SSD and HDD OEMs hare releasing new lines of both systems (cf. this comparison of recent releases by Toshiba, Hitachi and Seagate from ComputerWorld).  Even with enterprise data storage trending toward tiered systems, further supporting SSD and NAND flash penetration.  In these new tiered (sometimes called 'unified') systems, the SSD is assigned a Tier 0 level and provides the interface for those accessing the database, enabling the users to take advantage of the quick access features afforded by the SSD tier.  The traditional HDD servers continue to hold their tiers, and will still be there in the server stacks.

Why?  Data control, security and management.  Even if more data storage is (eventually) moved to the cloud, it will be a while until the conservatism of corporations loosens to completely let go of their most precious asset: data.

Meanwhile, the benefits of a tiered enterprise data system leveraging SSD and HDD systems are fantastic from power efficiency, reduced latency, improved capabilities for data access and manipulation, as well as cost balances.

Want to understand more about the implications of market shifts, component pricing and solution designs on the SSD-HDD debate?  Read the forthcoming MarketWatch Quarterly  article due out this week for subscribers on this topic, "The Spin on Data:  Is there new movement in the SSD-HDD tug-of-war?"  Subscription is free and you'll be a few weeks ahead of the general audience release.


Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.
Written on Wednesday, 15 December 2010 12:53 by Lisa Ann Cairns, Ph.D.

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