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Hard Disk Sector Consolidates Amid Uncertain Future 237

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The WSJ reports that Western Digital will buy Hitachi Global Storage Technologies for about $4.3 billion in cash and stock, leaving only four key hard disk drive vendors — Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba and Samsung. The hard drive world has been seen as ripe for consolidation, particularly as the rise of tablet computers such as the Apple iPad — which don't use hard drives for data storage — is casting doubt on the future of hard disks. Compared to hard drives, solid-state drives promise greater power efficiency, performance, resistance to physical shock, and run more quietly since they contain no moving parts. But one area that solid-state drives do not improve on their spinning predecessors is in their inevitable movement towards failure. 'SSDs are going to fail just like hard drives will,' says Chris Bross, Senior Enterprise Recovery engineer at Drivesavers Data Recovery. 'Every storage device will have issues regardless of their underlying technology.'"
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Hard Disk Sector Consolidates Amid Uncertain Future

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  • by digitalhermit ( 113459 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @03:35PM (#35409716) Homepage

    For the end-user, it's great that the average lifespan of a drive is measured in years. For the manufacturers, not so good.

    Since upgrading my power supplies I've had very few drive failures over the past five years. I've purchased drives to expand storage, but rarely to replace. Across 10 laptops I have replaced two failed drives in two years. On the desktops, with about twenty drives between 5 machines, I've replaced maybe two units in two years. These run continuously, are rarely rebooted, and have semi-annual reboots to replace fans and clean out the dust.

  • Punny! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by seanmcelroy ( 207852 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @03:39PM (#35409794) Homepage Journal

    The "hard disk sector" consolidates, hmm?

    For a moment, I did a double take and thought of Stac [].

  • by loose electron ( 699583 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @03:59PM (#35410066) Homepage

    The HDD death has been predicted a few too many times...

    Its still the cheapest storage with easy access out there.

    Consolidation is not only expected, but somewhat necessary.
    I spent 15 years in the HDD industry, and some things to understand:

    - It takes roughly 70 people and 6-9 months to design and develop a new disk drive.
    - product lifetime has been as short as 2 months and as long as 1 year.
    - typical product lifetime is 3-6 months.
    - A company needs to have multiple design teams doing multiple product designs phased for phased product releases.
    If the product is late, its already obolete, and will not sell.
    If the product is slightly behind the times, it will not sell.

    Because of the above NRE expenses are huge, so margins or volumes have got to be huge, to make any money.
    Margins went to nothing many years back, so the volumes need to be huge. Thus fewer players are the results of all that.

    Because of the above, dozens of companies that used to make disk drives are now long gone.

    All of that said, the "death of the HDD has been greatly exaggerated"
    - its cheap, high volume storage, and all in all "fairly" reliable.

  • by toastar ( 573882 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @04:18PM (#35410330)

    Raid is not a backup, FYI.

    I'm having a tough time locating in the GP where he portrayed RAID as a backup solution?

    Duh, If you do backups you don't need Raid


  • by afidel ( 530433 ) on Monday March 07, 2011 @04:38PM (#35410646)
    MLC still has crap life IF you are pushing it hard, for instance using it for a high transaction OLTP database. Even SLC for capacity equal to database size is expected to wear out at around 5 years based on our usage pattern but that's sufficient for our needs and we'll probably need to buy a bigger pair of drives at some time during this servers lifetime anyways =)

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner