The new drives are a good alternative for consumers who don't want to pay top dollar for an all-flash PC, Kay said. "There's a kind of sweet spot where you can argue that having some of both is the best solution," he said.
Hybrid drives for enterprises may be a harder sell. Storage administrators see the value of combining flash and HDD tiers, but most prefer to do it at the system level rather than managing arrays of hybrid drives, Gartner analyst Joseph Unsworth said.
As for HDDs themselves, they're still the best medium for large volumes of data that doesn't need to be used frequently, Endpoint's Kay said. That makes them ideal for big-data analytics, in which enterprises are now building big data centers full of "sparsely used" data, he said. Parts of that data can be moved to faster-moving media when necessary for analysis.
"For example, the NSA, in Utah, is going to buy A LOT of disk drives," Kay said.
There could be life in HDDs yet.
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