HDD Outlook 2023: The Trends Set to Emerge
There is no doubt that hard disk drives (HDDs) are still proving to be an important data storage medium. A few years ago, numerous industry analysts were of the opinion that HDDs would be completely replaced by solid state drives (SSDs), with a large proportion of them predicting that this would have occurred by 2020. It is now 2023 and very much clear to everyone that is yet to be the case, nor will it be in the foreseeable future. The high overall capacities and low cost per capacity unit mean that HDDs remain an attractive option for a broad range of different tasks.
The total amount of data generated and then stored has grown exponentially over the course of the last decade, going way beyond what anybody could have envisaged in the past. Furthermore, it is continuing to rise. Relying solely on SDDs would simply not be possible. Firstly, the quantities of SDDs that are being produced just would not be able to keep up with demands. Secondly, they are not economical enough to address many of the more cost sensitive applications where large-scale data storage is required.
HDD technological innovations
Ongoing engineering developments are helping to keep HDDs competitive. The introduction of helium-filled solutions, for example, has been pivotal. Having the disks situated in an enclosure filled with helium (which is a light, homogeneous gas), rather than in air, leads to less friction when the disks rotate. Consequently, turbulence issues are mitigated, and the thickness of the disks can be significantly reduced. The ability to pack in more of such thinner disk platters translates into increased storage capacity. Within the last 12 months, Toshiba has introduced the groundbreaking MG10 series 10 platter HDDs. These 3.5” form factor drives have capacities reaching the 20TB mark. Enhancements in relation to the read and write heads have also contributed. HDD storage density increases of 2TB per year have now become possible – so solutions with 22TB and 24TB capacities are set to arrive in the near future.