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Storage: is the tail now wagging the dog? It depends…

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I remember when storage innovation from companies like Seagate would drive the storage market.  Innovations like a new interface (SAS), recording design and capacity (PMR, HAMR, etc.), or even form factor (3.5-inch, 2.5-inch, etc.). Back then, the device suppliers were the dog, and they wagged the market, the tail.

Today, in some ways, us dogs are the ones getting wagged, in a good way. The greater market is now dictating more than ever where storage is heading from a usage standpoint. The best storage device suppliers can do is innovate to meet market demands.  It’s still innovation, but it’s more in response to where the market is going, and less a lead in where technology is going. Some examples:

Cloud

Sure, all of Seagate’s enterprise class, and even our desktop class drives are used by cloud service providers in one way shape or form. Whether it’s our mission critical drives for cloud compute applications, or our capacity optimized (nearline) drives for cloud storage, CSPs use what best fits their architecture, and more importantly what they can get away with using based on their software stack. Some would say, the cheaper the better. Seagate is paying attention, listening to cloud service providers relative to how they design their data centers, what applications they run, and how the storage device impacts their business. One could deduce that Seagate is designing new storage devices for the cloud.  More on this in the near future.

Mobility

Where do we start with this one?  Consumers and commercial customers want devices that are thinner, smarter, faster, lighter, but they still want the capacity. I blogged about this very subject here. As tablets and smartphones continue to continue to “take over,” and Ultrabooks gain momentum, Seagate reacted quickly delivering a wireless storage device, and is working on a solution for ultrabooks. I blogged about this subject as well – here. Seagate’s enterprise device offering also applies here with respect to cloud and how it enables mobility.

In addition, when talking about mobility, we still have to talk about laptops.  There remains a decent size market for the traditional laptop computer, just a faster, better experience. Enter solid state hybrid and Momentus XT. The high performance laptop market was moving to SSD, but users still craved the capacity.  Solid state hybrid drives were the answer to addressing the desire for speed, and the need for capacity.

Don’t get me wrong, Seagate will continue to innovate and drive storage technology when it comes to performance, capacity, security, power…the usual storage device parameters. At the same time, innovation will come faster and more furiously in meeting market and customer needs.

So, is the dog wagging the tail, or is the tail wagging the dog?  My favorite response:  it depends.

What would you say is the hottest trend in storage?

 Related Posts:

What we get if technology hype becomes reality…

Computers are getting smaller, but data centers are getting bigger

Does storage capacity still trump performance in notebooks?

Wintel defined the PC for 2 decades…were we all wrong?

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