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Hard drive storage will soon become part of computing history, says expert

May 21, 2023


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Data storage on hard drives will soon become a thing of the past, according to an expert Shawn Rosemarin, Vice President, R&D and Customer Engineering - Pure Storage. According to Rosemarin, we could see the last hard drive being sold in just about five years from now, PC Gamer reported.

Most computer users have long migrated to cloud storage solutions when it comes to safely storing their data. With content being streamed on smartphones and tablets practically everywhere, there is little reason to own a hard drive these days.

Most laptops and computers too are equipped with solid-state drives, so the question is, where are hard drives even used?

Back in 1956, IBM unveiled the 305 RAMDAC, which was likely the first computer to run a hard drive with a magnetic disk. The entire assembly took up a sizeable portion of the room but offered nothing over 5 MB of conventional storage capacity.

Fast forward 50 years, storage capacities had zoomed to one terabyte, and the size of the drive itself had reduced to the palm. When writing this, one can buy 22 TB storage for regular use and even 26 TB models for use in data centers.

The problem, however, according to Rosemarin, is that the world spends three percent of its energy on data centers, most of which is to spin the hard drive's disk. Shifting to flash storage could reduce power consumption by as much as 90 percent. This is why the shift away from magnetic storage is inevitable.

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The major hurdle, according to Rosemarin, is the cost of flash storage. A 100TB flash storage costs $40,000, which is exorbitant when hard drive storage for similar capacity costs about $2,000. But as with computing hardware, prices tumble very quickly, and the SSD will also meet the same fate, sooner or later.

Whether the last hard drive is sold in 2028 or not could be the topic of a moot discussion, but its place in computing is almost cemented. The timeline could be pushed up even further if newer storage solutions are discovered during this time.

If you'd like to salvage a piece of history, then now might be a good time to pick a new hard drive for memory's sake. Else you will be left searching for them, just like we do with floppy disks now.