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NAND that's that... Flash chip industry worth twice disk drive biz

WolfFan Silver badge

Put bluntly, disk drives are going to be a crap commodity business stuck between SSDs (faster) and tape (cheaper). The disk drive industry, as a major storage media player, is heading towards a head crash and Seagate has no escape strategy.

Err... the big problem with SSDs is, simply, the price per gigabyte. Unless and until that price falls considerably, there will be a lot of spinning drives sold, because some people simply require lots of storage. At my location we have multiple 4 TB spinning drives in our arrays, soon to be replaced by 8 or 10 or 12 TB spinning drives. Why spinning drives? We need to store tens of TB of data for ourselves and our customers. 1 TB of spinning drive costs $50 or less; 1 TB of SSD costs $300 or more. We cannot afford to replace our current spinning rust with SSDs, much less add storage. The customers are not going to pay 6x current costs for storage. They simply aren't. It will not happen.

Now, if the price fell significantly (to, say, 2x the price of spinning rust) and we could get affordable Internet connections fast enough that the customers would notice the speed increase, then we could justify it. Problem: the price of spinning rust keeps falling. Not so long ago it was $100 for 1 TB, and not long before that it was $200 for 1 TB. Only a few years ago it was hundreds of dollars for a fraction of a TB. SSD prices are aiming at a moving target. Back in the early-mid 1990s I paid $1000 for a 1 GB drive; I'd have killed for 1 TB at only $300. But that was then, this is now.

Wake me when the price of 1 TB of SSD gets to within shouting distance of 2x that of 1 TB of spinning rust. It will happen, just not soon. Until then, spinning rust still lives.

My personal systems at home include a machine with a 1 TB SSD, but all the other systems have spinning rust, SSDs just cost too much. They are a major reason why the new, oh-so-thin, laptops from Apple and Microsoft and others cost so much and have so little storage. Those who like SSDs say that 128 GB or 256 GB is perfectly adequate, just stick your data on external drives, or on the cloud, or somewhere, anywhere, except on your hardware. Except that sooner or later you will need storage for your data. I have well over 500 GB of music, collected since the late 1980s, some of which never was released on CD, on my personal system at home. I have terabytes of movies and tv (no, not porn...) some of which was not released on DVD or if it was, was released at truly outrageous prices. They're sitting on my network along with lots of other odds and ends, and I simply wouldn't have space if I had to use SSDs. At the office we have data which is accessed perhaps once a year, if that... but when we need it, we need it right bloody now, there's no time to hunt down the backup tape (assuming that it wasn't sent off to Iron Mountain for storage) and restore the file(s), so we keep it on the system... which means that we have a lot of stuff on the system which we access rarely. We couldn't afford that with SSDs. We couldn't afford that with spinning rust, either, until the price came down; then we put stuff on tape and put up with delays. Now we don't have to. We see no reason to go back to the bad old days, and spend vast amounts to do it, just because SSDs are fashionable.

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