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Why SSDs are taking over in storage

Kevin Jacoby's picture

by Kevin Jacoby on 07/06/2018
Blog Category: Devices

Who ever thought Amazon Prime Day would be the harbinger of a great storage-device revolution?
On July 16 Seagate will offer its new BarraCuda SSD (solid state drive) exclusively on Amazon. The price might cause you and your customers to do a double take. 
Users with the need for speed will only need to shell out $120 for a 500GB SSD on Amazon, and only $230 for the 1TB drive. Both offer a write speed of 520 MB/sec.
No, that’s the not the fastest SSD available by far. Nor is it the highest capacity. But at just $0.24/GB, the drive's price/performance is quite compelling. 
Seagate is also offering a 250GB BarraCuda SSD on Amazon for $75. At $0.30/GB it may not be as compelling an offer. But the price itself is hard to argue with.
A good omen
SSD sales have been rising for years. But we’ve never been as close as we are now to the tipping point where SSD sales surpass those of conventional hard-disk drives (HDDs). 
According to research from Statista, that tipping point is tentatively coming in 2021: 
SSD shipments chart
Shipments of hard and solid state disk (HDD/SSD) drives worldwide from 2015 to 2021 (in millions)
As you might expect, the rise in SSD sales is often seen as a direct correlation with the decrease in their price/gigabyte. In other words, as SSD prices drop, their sales rise. 
This, in turn, pumps more money into R&D, producing higher performance and greater economies of scale. The resulting virtuous cycle spins and spins until one day your customer’s grandchildren are looking at a conventional hard drive under glass in the Smithsonian. 
How low can you go?
Today the average price/gigabyte on an SSD hovers around $0.25 per GB. That’s down dramatically from 2014, when the average SSD price was $0.84/GB. 
As you can see in the chart below, Gartner Research predicts the SSD price (shown as blue bars) falling even further, dropping to just $0.10/GB on an SSD by 2021: 
SSD vs HDD price-erosion chart
As the Gartner chart shows, the price/performance of HDDs (shown as green bars) is also falling, albeit at a slower rate. 
Still, many industry analysts agree that price alone will not be enough to save these aging storage devices. That’s because SSDs will offer a package of greater value — including reliability, manageability and speed — that far outweighs the HDDs’ lower price/GB.
It looks like that time might be here soon. Are you ready?
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