• Why SSD's won't replace disks

    It’s simple: we don’t produce enough flash to replace more than a small percentage of the capacity that disks provide today. But drive vendors would be foolish to take comfort in that fact. They are still in a world of hurt.

    In a recent paper titled NAND: can meet the growing storage capacity demands of the laptop PC market?” (pdf) Seagate, soon to be the world’s second-largest drive manufacturer, points out that the market for laptop PC disk drives worldwide is 69 exabytes (EB) and is forecast to grow to 95 EB in 2011.
    But last year, the flash industry only produced 11 EB of capacity. And 90% of that went into consumer devices such as smart phones, ST cards and drives. It costs over $2 billion to build an exabyte of flash production capacity.

    That means an investment of about $200 billion in megafabs to build enough flash to satisfy this year’s market demand. Even if equipment vendors could build the fab lines, no one in today’s world would finance it. It isn’t going to happen.
    So what will happen?

    Two things:

    • As the advantages of flash-based notebooks and tablets become more obvious to notebook consumers, people will start asking themselves how much storage they really need.
    • SSD-based notebooks will take over the higher end of the market, where the margins are better and average sale prices higher.

    This is the problem for disk drive vendors. Sure, people will keep buying low-end notebooks with disks. But the already brutal price competition will get worse and already thin margins will get thinner.

    The Storage Bits take

    The main reason Seagate wrote the paper is to pimp their cleverMomentus XT hybrid drives. Since we can’t all have SSDs, hybrids may be the next best thing.
    Seagate has a point: most of the data on consumer machines - most of the world’s data on any machine - is rarely accessed. Why keep it on the most expensive storage if we don’t have to?

    But the larger point is worth repeating: flash SSDs won’t replace disks because we can’t build enough flash to do it - even if we were willing to pay the price. And the drive industry is far from done reducing storage costs, so they remain a fast moving target for every non-volatile memory technology.
    Which is good news for the data hoarding masses.

    Source: ZDnet
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. tesco's Avatar
      tesco -
      This is a stupid article.
      Flash can never replace hard drives because we don't currently produce enough to do so?
    1. mjmacky's Avatar
      mjmacky -
      Fix title to "Why SSDs won't replace disks by next quarter"
    1. godofhell's Avatar
      godofhell -
      just like everything else in computers when new technology comes out, SSDs are too expesive right now, give it another couple of years and it will be the norm .... they are MUCH faster, cooler and use less power than regular hard drives, as soon as morse law takes effect and SSDs become more affordable IDEs and SATAs will be history.

      Just like Floopys, Newspaper and soon CDs
    1. seantaylor's Avatar
      seantaylor -
      This article doesn't take into account that technologies are constantly improving, it seems like it was written by someone who is clueless. Maybe SSD's can't compete size wise yet, but give them sometime to develop. I think the trend is going to be everyone is going to have a mix, some SSD and some HDD.

      Wouldn't it be nice to fully utilize SATA-6?
    1. duke0102's Avatar
      duke0102 -
      I love floppy discs, I get them whenever I can, they look so cool when they explode from being shot with an air rifle lmao.

      I'd love an SSD drive but until they get cheaper they'll just be a dream for me....
    1. godofhell's Avatar
      godofhell -
      i remember installing win95 from like 20 floppy disks and thinking it was soo kewwwwl

      stupid 1.5mb pieces of crap

      I cant wait for SSDs to drop in price so i can run them in RAID5