Storage

Seagate to enter flash storage fray in full force


SeagateIt's official. According to the Wall Street Journal, Bill Watkins, Seagate's chief executive, has disclosed in an interview that the company will enter the market for flash-based storage devices as early as next year.

Better known to us IT professionals as solid-state drives (SSD), these will gradually be added to Seagate's product lineup. Seagate will still be relying mainly on products based on spinning magnetic disks (or Winchester disk) in the foreseeable future, so you terabyte hard-disk junkies are still safe for now.

Indeed, the company is likely to offer various kinds of "hybrid" products that leverage on both flash and Winchester drives.

Mr. Watkins also disclosed that Seagate has begun talking to U.S. government officials about ways that agencies can help domestic drive makers such as Seagate. No wonder, as Seagate faces competition from companies in Japan and South Korea that get various forms of government assistance.

Obviously, the fact that these competitors are manufacturing behemoths in their own right and are already firmly entrenched for some years now does not help a single bit. Realistically, Seagate has no alternative but to commit a full 100% of its own not insubstantial resources into this new playing field.

Quote of the day from Mr. Watkin:

We have solid-state drives on every road map that we have.

It does appear that Seagate is going in with its guns blazing, leaving nothing to chance. The next few years will be interesting times indeed.

What do you think the future of storage will look like?

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About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

12 comments
ashley.young
ashley.young

The thing that I think is most interesting in this field; is the hybridised disks that have been touted as possible for a while; and yet not come into fruition. A smallish (multi gb) flash based buffer; with a large magnetic disk behind it. Allowing the fast random access required for things in page; and yet providing rapid data throughput when reading directly from the magnetic disk. The best of both worlds.

jdprior
jdprior

I think they're late to the party. Dell has been muttering about Solid State arrays in their EMC rebadge SAN's for a year now, and if they're not looking to Seagate (more likely Fujitsu) then Seagate will be playing catchup for a while.

paulmah
paulmah

What do you think the future of storage will look like?

MCKEERFD
MCKEERFD

Absolutly nothing being set in stone ,no garantees of any major breakthroughs ,however it is just very possible we may see things like hard drives with no moving parts(due to being flah memory) and with huge storage capacitys,not currently being seen.1000GB and more and just maybe with the capability to double as ram.

lralcantara
lralcantara

I think that the flash-based drives will be made in the same size format to prevent issues with compatibility regarding today's standards. They will come out in 3.5" and 2.5" sizes to appeal to every single user. The power consumption will obviously be smaller and the storage densities will start out small but eventually, depending on the manufacturing process we will see 40, 80 or 100 GB flash based drives in less than 3 years with even faster I/O speeds than the magnetic disk-based hard drives we use today...I think the future of main storage looks promising...I wonder what the faces of Hitachi, Western Digital and Samsung will look like when Seagate comes up with an interesting flash-based hard drive better than anything out there...

dpeter
dpeter

The future of storage will be able to fit in a space that is 4x4! Climate control costs will go down. I say horraaaay!

ozi Eagle
ozi Eagle

Hi, I expect that in the future your mobo will have two sets of memory slots, one set for RAM and for permanaent storage. No "external" (to mobo) memory. Like with RAM you chose how many sticks you want plugged in for whatever size permanent storage you need. Do we need a new mnemonic? How about PRAM for Permanent Random Access Memory? Herb

lsatenstein
lsatenstein

I would not for a moment believe that the competition has been resting on their laurels, and not doing similar research. Today, competition may be ahead of the pack. We do not know that.

davidwb_39
davidwb_39

Its about time, Should had a product there 2 years ago

sancretor
sancretor

SSDs are becoming available, but it will still take a while before they become mainstream. Just look at the price/GB ratio for even those small 32GB drives - ridiculous!! For the forseeable future, we are still stuck with good old harddrives as the primary storage medium, and those will always require a defragmentation solution such as the excellent Diskeeper offerings. Also remember that SSDs will have finite number of read/write cycles. How they compare in longevity and integrity of data stored, to HDDs or other backup media is still not proven.

Lovs2look
Lovs2look

I can see that there will be business and mainstream PC's with a 30-50Gb flash "C" drive and a terabyte or two of storage for media or programs whatever. That will need defragging for a weekend! but should *finally* make loading of windows a bit quicker!

lsatenstein
lsatenstein

With flash drives, one would presume that a defragger program would be unnecessary. Moreover, it will put an end to the RIAA or other bodies from seizing a flash drive that has been scrubbed, as there will be no residual information stored, unlike magnetic media.

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