Three predictions for the future of data storage

The future of data storage

Posted on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Making accurate predictions in the technology sector is always difficult - and yet it is something that CTOs are called on to do on a very regular basis. How often are they expected to purchase storage capacity based on predicted growth trends for instance?

So here are our three conjectures for the future of data storage.

The short term

In the short term, we expect CTO focus to shift from storing everything, to improved data management. Privacy legislation like the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe will have the greatest bearing on storage in the near future.

Rather than constantly increasing capacity, businesses will need to invest in improved data management to ensure they are not holding information they don't need, or aren't entitled to any longer.

The medium term

Flash drives are already stealing significant market share from traditional hard drives, and this trend is likely to continue. Despite this, disk manufacturers are still trying to extend and enhance the format.

Initially we will see helium-filled and Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) drives - pushing up capacity to around 16TB. This will be followed by Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR), Bit Patterned Magnetic Recording (BPMR) and Heated-Dot Magnetic Recording (HDMR) technologies. By 2025 we should see capacity pushing 50TB per disk - assuming manufacturers can overcome the challenge of prohibitively long rebuild times for arrays built using these capacities.

The long term

Although engineers continue to identify new ways to extend magnetic recording capacities, the time-to-rebuild issue will (almost certainly) be the factor that finally kills the medium. In the long term we expect to see completely new technologies taking over.

Microsoft's continued investment in DNA indicates a confidence that organic matter is a viable storage medium. Similarly early experiments with diamonds suggest that optical storage techniques have a lot to offer capacity-wise too.

As always, there will be a battle to see which format wins out, but in our opinion, the future is unlikely to feature magnetic spinning disks for line-of-business applications.

Here and now

The reality is that most businesses still have an expensive estate of magnetic disks. These systems continue to fulfil important duties - even if your OEM has declared them end of service life.

Until the future arrives, CDS is on hand to provide OEM-quality support and spare part services for your post warranty spinning disk arrays. Give us a call today and let us reduce your support and maintenance costs for your existing assets.

To find out more, contact us.