by Anton Shilov
10/26/2010 | 10:06 PM
While some makers of hard disk drives are skeptic about solid-state drives, SanDisk, which is one of the world's largest producers of flash-based devices, sees very good prospects for SSDs on the markets of enterprise systems and mobile computers. The main problem for adoption of SSDs in case of notebooks these days is the price, but it would get lower over time.
"SSDs are transforming enterprise storage as we speak and we are within one or two generations from the mass adoption [of SSDs] in notebook PCs and other thin clients," said Eli Harari, the outgoing chief executive officer of SanDisk, during the most recent conference call with financial analysts.
The head of SanDisk admits that today only a fraction of notebooks use solid-state drives instead of hard disk drives. But as notebooks tend to get thinner, system makers will be forced to use SSDs instead of HDDs to keep PCs thin. For example, the recently unveiled Macbook Air laptops from Apple use custom-designed solid-state drives by Toshiba, whereas many other standard systems utilize standard SSDs by various manufacturers. At the moment the share of flash-based drives among Macintosh computers is just 3% - 5%, according to Seagate, but overtime this will grow.
One of the main factors that will drive SSDs into personal computers are decreasing prices of solid-state drives. It is logical to think that they will not match hard disk drives in terms of cost-per-gigabyte, but once SSDs with enough capacity become affordable enough, there will be an inflection point in the storage industry.
"We all know that the real driver for mass adoption of flash memory, SSD in this type of notebook PCs is very much we need to get to a lower cost and that will happen I believe," said Mr. Harari.
Even today there are personal devices that are not designed to use hard disk drives: tablets. In case of slates it is not even important how large flash drive can be installed, their design and usage model simply do not allow usage of HDDs.