A couple of weeks ago, I noted the continued disparity between SSD and HDD pricing in a local advertiser’s newspaper ad and got several interesting responses on LinkedIn. (See The differential cost between SSDs and HDDs continue in today’s Fry’s ad. Giant flashing yellow caution light for SSDs.) Here’s a particularly thought-provoking response from Dave Byrne in Swindon, UK:
"On Steve's original question with regards SSD adoption there are a bunch of market dynamics that will shape SSD adoption not just price:
1) Trend to multiple devices. As users adopt more devices in more form factors the data will need to be mostly kept in the cloud or NAS and synched to the devices on a as needed basis. In my house I have two Mac's, a Linux Netbook, Two iPhones and an iPad. I need to access my photo's, music, video and documents on all these devices.
I need 300-400Gbytes to store all my stuff but not in every device. I use a NAS for local storage and web services for media across all these devices. ZumoDrive for pictures and music. For documents I use Box.net. But there are many others. These services will move much data requirement off the client and into the cloud. The HDD's for mass storage will move with that data migrating into the storage infrastructure. Wireless data networks are only going to improve as we move to 4G. Already pricing in Europe is looking quite attractive.
2) As we move to a computing environment of massive parallelism. Multicore Multi threaded CPU's. This is going to result in more software running at the same time on your client. Therefore the storage workload is going to become more and more random. The result to the end user will be that SSD machines will show a wider and wider performance gap with HDD machines. This is already significant to many users but will become overwhelming overtime.
My thoughts are that SSD's will NEVER be as cheap as HDD's on a per-Gbyte basis. But that will not be the key factor driving storage choice in the client. Performance will become key as most data storage moves into the cloud. Client storage requirements will fall well within the range of a reasonably priced SSD. SSD adoption will continue to advance down the client system price points over the next 5-10 years as these trends play out."
I think that Dave has made the case for the eventual obsolescence of HDDs in client PCs quite well. When SSDs are priced “low enough” in “adequate capacities” and when more of us become comfortable with keeping our most important data either in the cloud or in local, networked storage, then we probably will see SSDs replace HDDs.