Trends In Data Storage For 2022
The data storage industry has grown and diversified in recent decades, providing solutions for numerous device categories and business use cases. HDDs maintain their leadership in enterprise storage and applications such as backup. At the same time, SSDs have succeeded in displacing traditional magnetic drives in performance and portability applications, being currently the dominant technology in the markets for laptops, smartphones, and other connected devices.
In both cases, the industry is striving to offer higher capacity and performance in its products, lower energy consumption, and develop concrete solutions for specific use cases. In the last year, unit shipments of HDD hard drives have decreased, but the total capacity shipped has increased considerably, thanks to the arrival of dreams with more density. At the same time, SSDs have expanded thanks to increased sales of laptops and devices and have been gaining positions in the enterprise storage segments that prioritize performance.
The storage market will continue to evolve in 2022, driven by growing demand for capacity and other factors that stimulate the technological development of devices and sales to consumers, businesses, and data centers. In a recent report published by the firm Toshiba, experts collected a series of trends that will shape the future of the storage market next year.
One of the strongest statements they make, which corresponds to the opinion of many other industry experts, is that the value of HDD hard drives will not decrease in 2022, as they are the most popular medium for mass storage in the world. Data centers and in many professional applications. The idea that was propagated years ago that SSDs would replace them in the short term has proven to be uncertain, as solid-state storage is still far from providing the capacity and price-density ratio of HDDs, and this does not change in the short or medium term.
HDDs Keep Increasing Their Capacity
HDD technology is evolving to maintain this advantage over HDDs, focusing on the most important values that this technology brings, such as capacity, and providing new capabilities that are becoming essential in the digital age, such as security. Integrated.
This progress is based on the great work that engineers have done in recent years, developing new recording technologies and magnetic media based on materials that allow a higher recording density. The traditional limit of 10 terabytes that existed a few years ago has already been long exceeded. Thanks to new head technologies and new magnetic materials, manufacturers have already reached 14 Tb and up to 16 Tb in form factors. Like the 3.5 ”. According to this document, the industry considers this the limit of traditional HDD technology, such as PMR or CMR.
To achieve that the reading and writing heads can record and read data in more minor points an additional energy input is required, which has led to the development of Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) or Microwave (MAMR) technologies. . Two examples of these products are in the denser drives from the provider Western Digital, which HAMR markets, and from Toshiba, which this year has introduced its first NAME-based HDDs. This has made it possible to reach capacities of 18 Tb and higher, and the technology still has a lot of room for development for the future, with forecasts of getting 20 Tb in the short term.
Staggered Recording To Increase Capacity
Thanks to assisted magnetic recording technologies, traditional HDD capacity limitations are being overcome, but this is not the only way to achieve it. Parallel to these advances, the industry has developed new ways to arrange data tracks on hard drives, such as Staggered or Superimposed Magnetic Recording, SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording). The channels are partially overlapped to achieve a higher area density.
In this technology, the recorded data can be read. Still, when it is rewritten, it must be read and rewritten in these two overlapping layers, something that causes performance degradation. To solve this, engineers have developed buffering and caching technologies, which have already overcome industry reluctance and enabled the first commercial SMR units to be manufactured. The result is driven with up to twice the capacity, suitable for many important use cases in the market, which augurs an excellent future for this technology, especially in combination with other current advances.
HDD And SSD Storage Trends For 2022
Looking ahead to next year, experts anticipate a series of trends that will continue to drive the storage market. One of the most important is the massive implementation of online connected storage in data centers. Meanwhile, offline storage will continue to be dominated by tape technologies, which, thanks to the latest advancements, offer compelling capacity and performance improvements for long-term, cold data archiving. For its part, SSD technology will continue to diversify, both to provide high-performance enterprise storage solutions and to accelerate HDD storage cache.
There is a transition to SSD drives in the field of external USB drives, although cost differences will limit this technology shift to applications that require higher performance. Although in the secondary storage space for personal computers, consoles, and other devices, external SSDs are generating more interest than internal ones since the new internal small form factor formats are much more expensive, and customers opt for external hard drives to expand capacity.
And in the case of computers, the central units have gone from increasing their SSD capacity to 1 Tb to reducing it to 500 Gb to offer more content prices, leaving the user the option of expanding it with external drives. And this will encourage the sale of USB drives between 2 and 4 Tb, mainly HDD. In the case of video game consoles, the industry has switched from HDDs to SSDs, but with a noticeable reduction in capacity.
The pressure on the price of these platforms has forced manufacturers to make this decision. Still, users find that the new generations of consoles suffer from an apparent lack of space, and internal expansion solutions are costly. This will be another factor that will drive the sale of external hard drives for mass consumption, and most users will opt for higher capacity HDDs since external SSDs have less space and are much more expensive.
Other categories that will continue to see an increase in sales are hard drives specifically designed for video surveillance systems and NAS storage, thanks to increased capacity requirements in these use cases as manufacturers in the HDD industry have launched specific solutions for these. environments. The SSD segment has a growing trend, although the market will move mainly in the specialized HDD segment.
In conclusion, industry experts say that HDDs and SSDs will continue to coexist, as each technology knows how to exploit its advantages well. HDDs will be supported by the continued demand for connected storage in data centers and enterprise platforms. At the same time, SSDs will consolidate their position in the primary repository of computers and servers and smartphones and the rest of the emerging categories of connected devices.