There is no question that data storage and data accessibility has become a key component of decision making in enterprise. An obvious question then arises- what is the most effective way to handle data? Two methods, flash and disk storage, have been battling for several years, and the jury still out on which we will see more of in the future.
Of course, the two methods may not be mutually exclusive. At least for now, both will co-exist and both will likely play in important role in data storage
Hard drives are still on top
According to one source, hard drive purchases by enterprise are still much higher than flash drives. In fact, shipments of the product recently hit record levels. Shipments of hard drives, which are over 500 million, will continue to rise each year until at least 2016. Compared to the mere 39 million flash drives that were sold in the same amount of time, it would seem that hard drives are by far the current storage unit of choice.
Flash storage is on the rise
Despite the fact that hard drives are still more popular, the advantages of flash storage are becoming more obvious to enterprise, and as a result their growth is accelerating. Flash array storage is enabling many other systems that allow for faster speeds as well as easier repair and upgrades. It is also the basis for many new cloud based storage systems. Many large companies are beginning to jump on board. For example, flash storage allows Facebook and other social networking platforms to handle to large amount of data they receive. Other established enterprises such as EMC, NetApp, Oracle, and HDS have adopted flash storage. Some companies have been hesitant to switch to flash storage simply because it is more expensive. However, prices are on the decline and experts predict they will continue to decrease.
By 2016, the sale of flash storage will likely grow from 39 million units to 239 million. This will be due to both the sale of flash storage for personal use, such as in notebooks, tablets, and smartphones, as well as in enterprise for mass data storage.
Both methods of storage may be necessary
The reality is that data is growing at a rate that is beyond enterprises current ability to handle. The International Data Corporation predicted that the world’s data will grow by 50x in the next decade. While most of that data will be created by individuals, enterprise will have liability over much of it. Will IT professionals have the capability handle such a drastic increase? Will they be able to implement efficient security for all of it? The answers to these questions largely rely on enterprises ability to take advantage of advancing storage capabilities.
Despite the fact that it has many advantages, one of the reasons flash drives are not entirely ready to take over is that they still cost more to manufacture. In fact, by 2016 a 2TB drive will cost somewhere around $40 to produce, while a 300GB flash drive will require closer to $100. For now it seems that both flash and disk storage will be necessary to take on the coming onslaught of storage. Those who are willing to pay a little extra for flash will certainly get their money’s worth in reduced size, power consumption, and speed. It may give them an edge in a world where quick reaction times based on complicated data is becoming necessary. Many companies are adopting a hybrid method that utilizes both technologies at a cost that is more