As the Hard Disk Drive HDD continues to spin

January 3, 2011 – 5:41 pm

As the Hard Disk Drive HDD continues to spin

server storage data infrastructure i/o iop hdd ssd trends

Updated 2/10/2018

Despite having been repeatedly declared dead at the hands of some new emerging technology over the past several decades, the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) continues to spin and evolve as it moves towards its 60th birthday.

More recently HDDs have been declared dead due to flash SSD that according to some predictions, should have caused the HDD to be extinct by now.

Meanwhile, having not yet died in addition to having qualified for its AARP membership a few years ago, the HDD continues to evolve in capacity, smaller form factor, performance, reliability, density along with cost improvements.

Back in 2006 I did an article titled Happy 50th, hard drive, but will you make it to 60?

IMHO it is safe to say that the HDD will be around for at least a few more years if not another decade (or more).

This is not to say that the HDD has outlived its usefulness or that there are not other tiered storage mediums to do specific jobs or tasks better (there are).

Instead, the HDD continues to evolve and is complimented by flash SSD in a way that HDDs are complimenting magnetic tape (another declared dead technology) each finding new roles to support more data being stored for longer periods of time.

After all, there is no such thing as a data or information recession!

What the importance of this is about technology tiering and resource alignment, matching the applicable technology to the task at hand.

Technology tiering (Servers, storage, networking, snow removal) is about aligning the applicable resource that is best suited to a particular need in a cost as well as productive manner. The HDD remains a viable tiered storage medium that continues to evolve while taking on new roles coexisting with SSD and tape along with cloud resources. These and other technologies have their place which ideally is finding or expanding into new markets instead of simply trying to cannibalize each other for market share.

Here is a link to a good story by Lucas Mearian on the history or evolution of the hard disk drive (HDD) including how a 1TB device that costs about $60 today would have cost about a trillion dollars back in the 1950s. FWIW, IMHO the 1 trillion dollars is low and should be more around 2 to 5 trillion for the one TByte if you apply common costs for management, people, care and feeding, power, cooling, backup, BC, DR and other functions.

Where To Learn More

View additional NAS, NVMe, SSD, NVM, SCM, Data Infrastructure and HDD related topics via the following links.

Additional learning experiences along with common questions (and answers), as well as tips can be found in Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials book.

Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials Book SDDC

What This All Means

IMHO, it is safe to say that the HDD is here to stay for at least a few more years (if not decades) or at least until someone decides to try a new creative marketing approach by declaring it dead (again).

Ok, nuff said, for now.


Greg Schulz – Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert 2010-2017 (vSAN and vCloud). Author of Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials (CRC Press), as well as Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio. Courteous comments are welcome for consideration. First published on any reproduction in whole, in part, with changes to content, without source attribution under title or without permission is forbidden.

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