According to Objective Analysis‘ Jim Handy, the hybrid drive market will double every year and reach an impressive 600 million units by 2016. Ultimately, hybrid drives will become the dominant PC storage technology, displacing traditional hard drives.
Hybrid drives employ a relatively small amount of flash storage — just 4 GB in the case of Seagate’s 500 GB Momentus XT. Although a paltry amount compared to SSDs, it still provides a nice performance boost in many use cases. It’s not exactly a new innovation, however. If you remember back during the early days of Windows Vista, one of the operating system’s most heralded features was support for hybrid hard drives that blended the mammoth capacity of platters with the snappy performance of flash storage with only a modest increase in cost. Samsung actually shipped some product, but as the current SSD/hard drive divide shows, the technology failed to make a huge impact.
But that could change if Handy’s forecast proves correct. Not only could hybrid drives provide platter-based storage technologies an extra measure of longevity, it could also give hard drive makers a smooth — and profitable — transition toward full-blown SSD production while flash technology gets cheaper and faster.
Image Credit: Seagate