Hard Drives Will Still Be Viable for Enterprise Markets for Years to Come – Analysts

Shipments of Hard Drives for Enterprises Set to Grow

by Anton Shilov
05/03/2010 | 10:23 PM

Despite trying economic times, an unprecedented decline in hard disk drive (HDD) terabyte shipments for enterprise applications in 2009 and the emergence of relatively affordable solid-state drives (SSDs) on the market, HDD vendors forged ahead by introducing new HDD products that address both current and future enterprise storage market requirements. As a result, International Data Corporation believes that enterprise HDDs will prosper for years to come.


According to new research from IDC, HDD shipments for enterprise applications will increase from 40.5 million units in 2009 to 52.6 million units in 2014. Moreover, the hard disk drive industry will ship more Petabytes for enterprise applications in the next two years than it did in the preceding 20 years. IDC found that growing interest in new storage delivery models such as storage as a service, or storage in the cloud is likely to put greater storage capacity growth demands on Internet datacenters. Therefore, the demand towards hard drives will also grow.

Several ongoing trends will continue to impact enterprise hard drive market revenue over the forecast period, including a continued shift away from higher cost performance-optimized HDDs to lower cost capacity-optimized solutions and solid state drives (SSDs) to complement HDDs in storage systems. Hard drive revenue derived from enterprise markets will grow at only a 1.7% CAGR during this time. Additionally, there will be an increased effort among end users to better utilize existing storage system assets.

"We're definitely seeing intensive cost cutting measures among end users striving to bring more efficiency to current solutions. The employment of technologies such as data deduplication, thin provisioning, storage multitiering, and storage virtualization are all contributing to reducing end-user costs,” said John Rydning, research director for storage mechanisms: disk.

IDC also claims that the transition from 3.5” to 2.5” performance-optimized form-factor HDDs will be complete by 2012. Hence, at least, in the enterprise space there will be no high-performance 3.5” hard drives. Still, the price per gigabyte of performance-optimized HDD storage will continue to decline at a rate of approximately 25% to 30% per year.