The price per gigabyte ratio keeps swinging in favor of improved solid-state drive (SSD) adoption, but not faster than prices keep tumbling on traditional hard drives. Apart from high-performance servers, storage arrays, a smattering of portables, and of course, PC enthusiasts that spend top dollar for the fastest components, SSDs are still having a tough time cracking the mainstream computing markets. It’s an odd state of affairs considering flash memory’s (the chips that make up SSDs) dominance in the smartphones and portable media device marketplace.
Yet, while it looks like SSDs will forever live in the shadow of their capacious, platter-based cousins, there are hints that the tables are starting to turn in favor of the energy-saving storage tech.
First is this welcome news from OCZ, makers of consumer and enterprise grade SDDs. In a few days, the company is opening a new manufacturing plant in Taiwan as a response to brisk demand for its products. According to OCZ, the plant will more than double — nearly triple in fact — its output to 140,000 SSDs per month from 50,000 units previously. And in an encouraging sign that data centers are leaning toward energy efficient IT, at least with respect to storage, OCZ’s CEO, Ryan Petersen, provided the following insight into the company’s motivation behind the expansion. “Our new 20,000 square foot facility was set up in response to increased demand from OEMs for our Enterprise Solid State Drive products and significantly increases our monthly SSD capacity.”
Steve Hall, a product development manager for Kingston, maker of flash memory storage devices including SSDs, shares two interesting factors that are impacting his business. First relates to the cost of SSDs. In an interview with KitGuru, he shared the following observation: “Since Solid State Drives were first introduced to the market, we’ve seen a 50% price reduction year on year.” As for SSD’s impact on the bottom line, he had this to say: “In 2009, SSD accounted for less than 2% of Kingston’s revenues. In 2010 it’s going to be around 10% of our revenues.”
Even Western Digital, a staunch supporter of traditional hard drives for obvious reasons, is seeing the writing on the wall. The data storage company purchased SiliconSystems in 2009 and has since started to offer SSDs — a clear indication of where the market’s going.