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Even though shipments of solid-state drives (SSDs) totaled only about 11 million units in 2009, they actually grew 14% year over year despite the economic recession and are on-track to achieve rather formidable compound annual growth rate in the coming years, according to IDC market research firm.

"Despite lingering uncertainties around the economy, IDC remains positive on the outlook for SSDs and believes the trajectories for shipment and revenue growth are a source of optimism moving forward," said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager of hard disk drive components and solid-state drives at IDC.

Looking forward, IDC expects SSD adoption will continue to experience tangible growth in 2010 and beyond, with shipments expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54% over the 2008-2013 forecast period.

Pricing remains a key metric for SSD adoption in all market segments. The slowdown in IT spending over the past 18 months has led to production cutbacks in NAND semiconductors, subsequently slowing overall SSD price reductions. However, the long term decline in the cost of NAND memory will translate into lower price points for SSDs. These lower price points, coupled with increased SSD capacities, will make them a compelling alternative to hard disk drives (HDDs) in certain market segment.

IDC believes that the largest market opportunity for SSDs will be in PCs, where there are two avenues to adoption. One is as an alternative to an HDD in a traditional notebook where the user is willing to pay a premium for the anticipated performance benefits of an SSD. The second avenue lies in offering a low-cost storage alternative for use in netbooks. In both cases, SSD price points and storage capacities must be competitive with HDD costs before broader adoption will occur.

In the enterprise, IDC believes that SSDs complement HDDs for certain applications. The desire for increased performance, better utilization, faster access times, and lower power consumption is providing an increasing opportunity for SSD-based solutions in the datacenter where there is a premium on high performance.

"SSD adoption will continue to experience tangible growth given the nascent stage for SSD adoption coupled with many of the benefits inherent in SSDs. We expect SSD vendors to achieve capacity and price points that make SSDs an attractive solution in the PC and enterprise markets where the value proposition of SSDs is compelling,” added Mr. Janukowicz.

Tags: SSD, Flash, HDD

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