Nowadays solid-state drives are used mainly in expensive notebooks that require high performance amid portability and reliability. However, nearly all of such notebooks optionally support traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) since they can store more data while being substantially more affordable. Given the current cost-per-gigabyte, chief executive of the world’s largest maker of hard disk drives believes that SSDs may find their place primarily in enterprise segments of the market and only in three or even four years time solid-state drives will make sense for other applications.
“We do think that [for] enterprises it [SSD] makes some sense where you can get the performance. They’re not big volumes yet but three or four years from now, depending on how the technology, the cost-per-gigabyte, and the reliability issues get resolved, there will be other places for it,” said William Watkins, chief executive officer of Seagate Technology, in an interview with Cnet News.com.
Many think that solid-state drives are considerably more reliable compared to hard drives due to the lack of moving parts and generally high reliability of flash. But Mr. Watkins doubts that SSDs truly have substantial reliability advantage over traditional HDDs and claims that the latter do not fail as often as other chips do.
“There is this argument that no moving parts is better, but if you look at the returns why PCs fail to come back, the hard drive is not the No. 1 or 2 issue. Chips generally have a higher failure rate in the systems than do hard drives, to be honest. I think you can make an argument that less moving parts is a good thing, but again, the reliability of hard drives is pretty good. I don't think you've got to pay a premium for that,” Mr. Watkins claimed.
Another advantage that flash-based drives have over traditional HDDs is performance: solid state drives are massively faster compared to conventional hard drives. But Mr. Watkins puts this under doubt as well: he thinks that hybrid hard drive (a hard disk drive with large flash cache) with a lot of flash can increase performance and cut power consumption so dramatically that hardly a lot of customers are interested in paying extra for fully flash-based storage devices.
Seagate: SSDs to become popular within 3-4 years
Posted on Tuesday, Jan 29 2008 @ 11:30 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck