IDC Predicts 3 TB Hard Drives By 2012

Hard drive manufacture appear to be increasingly under pressure from advances in the solid state disk arena, with some manufacturers claiming that 512 GB drives will be available with current technologies. At least from a capacity view, NAND flash seems to be surpassing 1.8" hard drives and closing the gap with 2.5" drives.

However, IDC analyst John Rydning believes that hard drives are here to stay. While he concedes that flash-based solid state disk drives (SSDs) "will curtail HDD demand in some markets," he thinks that the hard drive industry will "shrug-off these and other competing storage technologies to attain consecutive years of record-setting HDD shipments and revenue."

Cheap storage space is likely to remain one of the key advantages of this space and the analyst says hard drive makers will use perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology to build on this advantage. He expects capacities to triple by 2012, which would mean that 1.8" drives could hit about 500 GB by that time, 2.5" drives about 1.5 TB and 3.5" drives about 3 TB.

HDD markets least threatened by competing storage technologies such as enterprise storage systems, personal storage devices, and personal video recorders, will compose nearly 50% of total HDD unit shipments by 2012, IDC said.