WD Wants to Save Rotating Magnetic Storage

Despite investing heavily into the solid-state drive market, Western Digital looks to be rooting for the old-fashioned mechanical drive technology for some time to come. The company said on Tuesday that it has founded the Storage Products Association (SPA) with other hard drive companies to spread the word that rotating magnetic storage technologies still offer value, and along with SSHDs, play a critical role in everyone's digitally-mastered lives.

The company said that the new SPA group also includes HGST, Seagate and Toshiba, and is making its debut at the Flash Memory Summit, beginning Tuesday at the Santa Clara Convention Center. SPA member companies will also participate in a panel titled Solid State Hybrid Drives Help Meet Today's Storage Requirements to discuss the role of HDDs and SSHDs. The panel will be moderated by IDC Research's vice president for hard disk drives, John Rydning.

Western Digital said that the new SPA group will provide education to its customers, partners, members and users of HDDs and SSHDs. SPA will also participate in industry and user events -- such as the one listed above -- and will publish materials about end users' storage needs and effective usage of a mix of storage technologies.

"Driven by continued, rapid expansion of digital content production, demand for storage is expected to grow in the mid-30s percent range annually through 2020," said Tim Leyden, WD president. "While, in that timeframe, a mix of technologies will be deployed to appropriately serve customers, about 75 percent of the capacity is still expected to be rotating magnetic storage devices."

Leyden added that every smartphone, tablet and personal computer user today depends on the "value and reliability" of HDDs or SSHDs to secure their data, whether the storage solution resides in their device or in the cloud. "SPA will help consumers and businesses appreciate the value of their growing content storage needs and the remarkable rotating magnetic technologies that save and protect that content," he said.

According to a demographic provided by the group, the price per gigabyte has plummeted on average nearly 25 percent every quarter over the last decade. In 1986, the price per GB was a meaty $71,000 USD. Less than a decade later, that price plunged below $1,000 USD. Now the price is around 10 cents per GB. Even more, an areal density is expected to be 1560 gigabits by 2016 compared to the 780 Gb max areal density in 2012.

"Unlike property prices, virtual space is becoming cheaper," the group said. "In 2003, one square foot of a Manhattan apartment could buy slightly less than 470 GB of hard drive storage. The same amount of space today is more than enough to stockpile all of your life memories worth almost 11 TB of data storage."

For more information about WD's new cheerleading squad for hard drives and hybrid drives, head here. Pom-poms aren't required.

  • CrArC
    I'd be happy to support their business with many hard drive purchases if they'd just lower the friggin' price. I need several TB more storage but can't afford it, even if it is massively cheaper than years ago.
  • LaughALot
    Bring out your dead.
    Here's one.
    That'll be nine pence.
    I'm not dead.
    Nothing, here's your nine pence.
    I'm not dead.
    Ere, he says he's not dead.
    Yes he is.
    No I'm not.
  • g00fysmiley
    as ssd prices keep coming down hdd are going to have to get exrtremely cheap per gig to remain viable in the next decade... but for now most systems use a hdd for media storage and a ssd for programs, i see this remaining to be the trend for the for the next 4-5 years but with the efficiency of ssd's and as costs go down mechanical drives will have very limited market in the next 10-15. that is assuming that current ssd prices continue to plummet and i can get a 1 TB ssd in the $100 range in 5 years which i think is likely
  • aramisathei
    I somehow doubt that any decline in HDDs/SSHDs is due to lack of awareness---unless you assume that people have no idea what their storage mediums have been for the past couple decades (in which case, they probably still don't care).
  • jn77
    A year ago a 1TB SSD was running $1500-$2400 depending on the brand, this year you can get a Samsung EVO 1TB for just over $600..... for $1200 I can put 2x 1TB EVO SSD's in my latop for 2TB Storage in a laptop...... but on the same token, I can buy how many 750gb WD Black's for my laptop for $1200 ?
  • TyrOd
    God Toms Hardware is so damn clueless. The gap between $/GB in Hard drives and SSD is getting bigger every year. There will be 40TB bit patterned recording hard drives before there are 3TB SSD planar SSD. Also, the sequential read/write speeds of hard drives are getting faster more so than SSD in comparison as well.
    SSD is not a replaceent for hard drives except for in enthusiast/specialized environments where access time is far more important than sequential speeds.

    WD and the rest of the industry knows the future of SSD is as a caching solution for Hard Drives. It's Toms that is clueless and thinks they need saving.
  • InvalidError
    11364684 said:
    I'd be happy to support their business with many hard drive purchases if they'd just lower the friggin' price.
    How much lower do you want them to be? At $70-80 for 1TB or $100-110 for 2TB if you look for the cheapest models, I doubt they can afford to make HDDs significantly cheaper without compromising reliability - engineering mechanical devices that will maintain their operating tolerances for tens of thousands of operating hours requires considerable precision and quality materials.

    Cutting any (further) corners on that would likely mean drastically increased failure rates and that would ruin their reputation... IIRC, IBM's desktop storage division never recovered from their "DeathStar" incident.
  • The_Trutherizer
    Look for me HDD tech will definitely have a role to play and I can understand why they want to leverage on cloud storage, but for PCs SSD is just simply the way. Mind you i have an SSD system drive and a very large HDD at the moment - A configuration that is serving my exquisitely well. Its just that I know what's just on the horizon with SSD tech...
  • TravisJunky
    The fact is of those companies mentioned (WD, Toshiba, Seagate) they're all falling behind in the SSD market. Companies like Samsung and Intel hold the market on SSD where WD and Seagate were dominate in the HDD market. This is just a strategy to keep what will become an outdated market alive instead of innovating and making quality SSD's to compete with. Just my opinion.
  • stevejnb
    11364684 said:
    I'd be happy to support their business with many hard drive purchases if they'd just lower the friggin' price. I need several TB more storage but can't afford it, even if it is massively cheaper than years ago.

    So they are lowering the prices - massively - but you still need it lowered more. Curious, if you're too low on funds to buy HD's, what type of storage medium are you using that is saving you money over hard drives? Tape drives?