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Is there (storage) space for hard drives in the era of the Cloud?

Mark Wojtasiak, Enterprise Segment Manager, Seagate Technology | Sept. 1, 2014
Hard drives and the cloud are not mutually exclusive and should not be.

Considering this from a traditional hard disk drive (HDD) perspective, there are two fundamental opportunities worth exploring; 1) significantly increasing storage capacity on HDDs and 2) providing HDDs that last longer, deliver lower total cost of ownership (TCO) and offer faster access to cold or archived data.

Employing technologies such as Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) and Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) for HDDs need to be ramped up quickly in order to drive the costs of delivering storage capacity down. SMR and HAMR HDDs achieve greater capacity by increasing areal density and allowing more information to be stored per square inch. In addition, these technologies will also enable HDDs to last longer and provide faster access to cold data.

Fundamentally, this means that storage providers are able to leverage current drive architecture at competitive costs, allowing the adoption of mass storage to continue entering various emerging markets.

Storage solution providers will also need to come up with fresh approaches to redesigning the storage stack for scalability, flexibility and cost effectiveness. For example, developing platforms that leverage Ethernet HDDs and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that talk to software.

HDD manufacturers that are able to consistently innovate and address industry needs will find ample space and opportunity for growth, even in this era of cloud. Some examples include:

  • Developing high capacity enterprise nearline drives to store massive amounts of data cost effectively, for instance in managing Big Data or backup and archiving
  • Providing high performance hard drives and solid-state drives (SSDs) to move data quickly for online transaction processing (OLTP), database management, ecommerce etc. and to glean information from data faster (think business intelligence and analytics)


Hard drives and the cloud are not mutually exclusive and should not be. By implementing technologies that address the needs of enterprises in the cloud, hard drive manufacturers will be able to leverage the massive data storage opportunities presented. Key partnerships and consistent innovation will help ensure that they establish themselves as important players in this space.


[1] "The explosive growth of cloud computing", Infographic, Eclipse, 2014

[2] "Cost Divide Remains Between the Cloud and the Cloud Nots", Storiant, 9 May 2014



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