4Q14 Hard Disk Drive Forecast & Market Perspective
New 8TB drives hit the market
WD and Seagate both introduced the world’s first 8TB drives for Enterprise applications. The high cap drives are in response to cloud builders’ ever-increasing need for higher cap, higher efficiency, yet still cost-effective, storage. There is not a lot of information on the recording technology used by Seagate in its 8TB SATA drive. However, WD’s Ultrastar He8 packs in 8-terabytes of data storage capacity using standard PMR technology combined with the pressurized helium technology that was first unveiled with WD’s 6TB drives. Expect to see a 10TB drive joining WD’s high-cap lineup in a few months.
High capacity drives
Similar to the way we saw last quarter’s launch of higher cap drives start to compress pricing on high-cap product (1TB-3TB drives), we also can expect to see continued pricing pressure on these same capacity drives as these new 8TB drives start to hit the market. Do not expect any dramatic price drops, but there may be softening of demand and buying activity on the older high caps.
As the price of solid state drives have dropped, they have increasingly made their way into storage arrays. When it comes to server production, design priority is based on speed, performance and energy consumption — all of which are improved with the use of solid state drives. Until solid state drives hit price parity with traditional spinning disk drives, however, we will continue seeing a lot of hybrid SSD/HDD systems.
Pulls in the secondary market
As larger data centers continue to grow, so does the number of pulled “used” drives entering into the secondary market. In an attempt to recoup value on the large number of drives that continually are removed from servers, data centers have turned to asset recovery services in order to remarket and resell drives. Pulled drives can represent a major cost-savings to customers who may re-use them for service-demand or, in certain markets, for new production. This type of cost-savings used to be a domain ruled more resolutely by recertified drives, but as you see more and more pulls enter the secondary market, you also can expect to see increased price pressure.
The notebook market
The notebook market has remained remarkably stable with 7200prm product becoming the go-to speed. Also expect to see a lot more 7mm drives in the market as most OEMs start to quality them into BOMS for thinner, higher-performing Ultrabooks. Even with the introduction of higher-cap notebook drives, we still can expect the market to remain stable throughout the 4th Quarter.