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SPA Makes Hard Drive Push

You’ve got a friend in the data storage business.

That’s the word from a new trade group formed to spread the word about conventional hard disk drive storage and newer devices employing solid state storage technology. The Storage Products Association (SPA), a non-profit trade group consisting of Hitachi GST, Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital, debuted at the Flash Memory Summit in August.

With the growth of solid state storage technology, you might think that traditional hard drives are passe’.

Nothing could be further from the truth.
Hard drives have been around for more than 50 years (click here for a look at hard drive historical information) and they are still being produced in very large numbers.

More than 578 million hard drives were manufactured in 2012. That’s a rate of more than 1,140 drives coming off the assembly line every minute, according to SPA. Over the past 10 years, SPA says more than 5 billion drives have been put into service.

Short-Term Downturn
The growth rate for traditional drives has turned into a decline, with newer technologies (mostly solid state drives) taking some market share from their electro-mechanical counterparts.

The sweet spot for traditional hard drives in the future will be in enterprise storage, where massive amounts of capacity are needed to take care of the ever-increasing wave of new data creation. Sales of drives for desktop computers continue to drop (along with sales of personal computers in general) while laptops and tablets continue to rise.

Research firm Gartner projects PC shipments will decline in 2013 to 305 million units with the trend continuing in 2014 when shipments will dip to 289 million computers. Click here for details.

Coughlin Associates, another analyst firm, forecasts similar short-term declines in hard drive sales, but sees an overall return to growth in hard drives in 2016 (up 11 percent). For more details, click here.

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