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Are PC hard drives destined to die at the hand of the cloud? Maybe, analysts say

Mark Hachman | Jan. 6, 2015
Are hard drives in PCs and consumer devices on their way out? Analysts had mixed opinions, leaving open the option that it could happen.

John Rydning, a storage analyst with IDC, said that a survey he conducted of local filmmakers in Minnesota found that half preferred to "back up" their final cuts with a second hard drive, and the other fifty percent in the cloud. While the cloud was convenient, he said, they also worried about security. "That's a copyrighted work," he said. "If it leaks, they're done. They lose control."

Cloud storage is the future
But analyst Rob Enderle argued that the massive amounts of cloud storage being offered to consumers for free simply trumps all that. "Localized storage is pretty much gone," he said. "It's not a matter of if. It's a matter of when."

Enderle laid out his case: Enterprises don't like content stored on local devices because of the risk that it could leak outside company walls, and the costs associated with redundant storage placed right next to the worker.  Connectivity problems, such as limited Wi-Fi at hotels and other locations, is fading away. And every time a company has bet on local services, such as Apple's determination to sell MP3s rather than stream music, that company has lost. "The most disruptive technology in the market right now is Chromebooks," Enderle said.

The bottom line? There's no easy answer to the question of whether local hard drives or SSDs are doomed. But the fact that at least two analysts are considering the possibility that it may be suggests the interesting possibility that in some markets, and in some cases--yes, the hard drive as we know it is doomed.


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