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Podcast: Spectra Logic Report looks at the State of Data Storage

Today Spectra Logic their annual review of the data storage industry. The report provides insight for storage and media manufacturers, application developers and enterprise storage customers into the trends, pricing and technology shaping the data storage industry, and projects future storage needs and the technologies with the best chance of satisfying them.

“The world’s repository of data is growing more rapidly than we could have imagined. At the same time, organizations are more reliant than ever on digital assets, and must protect and preserve access to this data forever,” said Spectra Logic CEO Nathan Thompson. “This is a unique time for the data storage industry, and we are proud to take a leadership role in helping the industry anticipate the trends, tiers and technologies of the future.”

Storage industry experts have predicted that the digital universe could grow to more than 40 zettabytes (ZB) of data in 2020. Spectra’s “Digital Data Storage Outlook 2017” projects that much of this data will never be stored or will be retained for only a brief time, bringing the total amount of data stored closer to 20ZB in 2026. Backed by Spectra’s nearly 40 years in data storage, the report explores how enterprise flash will displace two-and-half-inch 15,000 RPM magnetic disk, and why existing technologies like tape will have the most significant impact on the storage digital universe through 2026, among other conclusions.

The “Digital Data Storage Outlook 2017” is a comprehensive look at the ever-changing landscape of data storage, covering all aspects of the industry including:

  • Solid State Flash Storage – NAND flash is the fasting growing technology in the storage market. The demand for this technology will increase year over year through 2020, due to increased investment by all major flash vendors, and technical advancements allowing for more capacity and less cost per piece.
  • Disk Storage – This flash storage medium poses numerous threats to the magnetic disk drive industry that will affect disk’s market share. This threat includes the displacement of disk drives by flash drives in laptops and desktops, and the removal of disk drives in home gaming devices and digital video recorders. Spectra Logic estimates that by 2020, the disk industry will service a focused market, comprised of large IT shops and cloud providers.
  • Tape Storage – The backbone of the industry for more than 40 years, tape drive technology continues to consolidate. Having the greatest potential for capacity improvements, tape technology fills a market need as an inexpensive storage medium, at $.01 per gigabyte, the Spectra Logic report points out that a long-term scenario for tape is to coexist with flash technology. The report also details tape’s connection to the cloud, projecting that cloud providers will mostly adopt LTO (Linear Tape-Open), the most common tape technology. A new tape head technology, called TMR (tunneling magnetoresistance) will significantly boost tape capacities and speeds for years to come. Moreover, these tape technologies will integrate well with cloud strategies in disaster recovery plans.
  • Optical Disc Storage – The optical disc storage market will see a downward spike in 2017, yet may be an option for customers that have definitive long-term archival requirements. The report attributed the downward trend to its high cost, with this option being about 10 times more expensive than tape. The whitepaper reviews ways to archive at a more competitive price, but all the factors make optical an uphill battle.

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