Storage Products Association Launches to Spur Industry

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In other news from the Flash Memory Summit, Seagate, Western Digital, HGST, and Toshiba have formed the Storage Products Association. The charter of the SPA is to help storage manufacturers and users understand and support current and future storage needs, including the key role of hard disk drives, and promote the use of rotating media hard drives as well as solid-state hybrid drives for all consumer and business environments.

With newly created data doubling every two years, hard disk drives and solid state hybrid drives remain the best option for securely storing large amounts of dynamic data, in a cost effective manner” said Joel Hagberg, vice president of marketing at Toshiba’s Storage Products Business Unit and SPA board member. “At Toshiba, we have witnessed inadequate information reaching consumers about HDDs. The formation of SPA will help storage stakeholders stay informed of the key trends in storage as well as educate them on any current misconceptions of storage.”

The misconceptions that Hagberg might be referring to are that flash will completely kill the market for hard disk drives. With the market for fast SAS rotating drives beginning to shrink, the industry is trying to avert an eventual shrinkage in the capacity optimized hard drive (ie SATA) market, which for the moment is a distant threat. Nonetheless, in his keynote at the summit Jason Taylor of Facebook alluded to just that: “Just make it dense and cheap. Photos, video – essentially, after you first create these, they’re almost never updated,” he said. “The majority of that data will probably be written once and read never.”

Taylor was talking about “cold data,” which Facebook presently stores in MAID arrays, that are only spun up when data is requested of them, but when they are accessed the latency is considerable. A slow flash would be ideal for such data, with writes speeds 10X slower than current flash without compromising the user’s experience. Taylor called such storage: “Write-once, read-never” and said it could be optimized as read-only for long term use.

The membership of the SPA consists entirely of hard disk drive manufacturers. Only Toshiba produces solid state drives in that group. Notable for their absence: SanDisk, Micron, Samsung, Intel, OCZ, Whiptail, Violin Memory, Virident, Pure Storage, Nimbus, and several other SSD/flash array producers.

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