Cheap, fast, digital storage has enabled so much of our “digital revolution.” DVR’s. Cloud. Social Media. All of it enabled by cheap digital storage, whether it’s local or in a datacenter, it’s stored. The vast majority of this storage is still on hard drives, and will be for a long time to come. Solid State Drives (SSD), and flash storage in general, will continue to grow and has taken over handheld up to the notebook computer, which it shares with spinning hard disk drives (HDD) still. And of course flash storage is playing a greater role in storing data that needs to be written or read incredibly fast. But hard drive shipments still dwarf SSD shipments, and the worldwide growth of data storage is still incredibly strong, requiring the hard drive industry to continue to innovate and provide incredible storage devices with huge capacities – 8TB drives are already shipping!
Back in the 1980’s, there were two types of hard drives – one, for the revolutionary new product, the PC (or Mac), and one, for all other applications, which were almost all “enterprise.” Today, there are at least ten different types of drives.
To help our customers, we created a framework with which to consider all these different types, or classes, of drives. We are sharing this publicly because we believe this is a good way to help people start to understand the differences between hard drives – which can have a big effect on their business.
For each of the “classes” of drives below, we have put together some data for you as well as our understanding of the hard drive manufacturers’ design considerations.