One of the industry’s most visible analysts, Jim Handy, recently posted an article on his Forbes blog titled, “SSD Growth is Demand, not Supply, Limited as CEOs Claim.” In the article, he disputes the opinions of the CEOs of Seagate, Western Digital, and SanDisk, all of whom believe that the SSD will never replace the HDD because the transition to a flash manufacturing capacity would simply be too much money.
Jim spends the majority of the article in retort against the industry leaders, beginning with the argument that it is not the supply that will cause the shift from HDD to SSD, but the demand. While the demand for SSDs on the consumer side may be slow due to PC consumer preference being biased toward prices and HDD capacity, the demand for SSDs on the enterprise side is quickly growing. According to The Financial Times, nearly 2.5 exabytes of data is processed – a day. This is just one of the several indicators of sky-rocketing data growth pushing data centers and enterprises to transition toward a better-performing storage medium.
Although demand for enterprise SSDs may be growing, the CEOs of Seagate, Western Digital, and SanDisk do have a point when they mention the industrial move to Flash will cost billions of dollars of investments in manufacturing capacity. I have been in the industry for quite a while, and as a storage industry veteran, I understand that the evolution between technologies takes quite a bit of time and resources. The main reason for this is just what the CEOs above have mentioned: the cost of building a new manufacturing capacities is so large that the manufacturers are not quick jump the gun, unless there is significant demand like we are seeing from data centers now.
Both Jim and the industry CEOs made good points, but ultimately, as fast as data traffic is escalating, the move to SSD is inevitable.
- John Scaramuzzo, President, SMART Storage Systems