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August 2015

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STORAGE UPDATE 41 POST AUGUST 2015 C M Y CM MY CY CMY K PanasasAD_GCcollier_OUT_072715b_pdfx_1a.pdf 1 7/28/15 7:44 AM STORAGE 2025 OAKDALE, MN — As CEO of a company special- izing in shared storage, I often think about what storage solutions might look like 10 years from now. Reflecting back on the explosive growth of Rotational Disk Drive densities and the advent of Solid State storage over the past 10 years, one has to wonder what direction storage solutions will take in the future. We have noticed a gradual reduction in the rate of new rotational drives that have larger storage capacity over the past couple of years — very simi- lar to the slow down of CPU clock speed increases during the past 10 years. The smaller [or denser] you try to go, the harder it gets. In the end, the physics of matter can't be overcome. CPUs went to multi-core to solve their space problems. It's unclear if traditional disk drives can grow the number of platters, or increase the recordable density per plat- ter to meet the desired density growth. With the economics behind the need for the ever-increasing storage demands, one would think that Solid State storage density is where the next big push will come from. With that much demand be- hind technology advances, the price barrier between rotational storage and Solid State storage will narrow to the point that the power, weight, and heat advantages of Solid State storage will overwhelm the ever increasing cost to develop denser rotational drives due to the physical geometries involved. These same economics could fuel a brand new technology that could swoop in and gather a leading storage supply position. While it hasn't been made economical yet, there has always been great interest in attempting to harness the speed and pow- er of light, although there will need to be significant advances to density to make it a viable alternative. History tends to be a great teacher, and one doesn't have to look farther than the advances that have taken place with Ethernet to see how eco- nomics can continue to drive a technology forward. Ethernet has migrated from 10Mbit to 100Gbit over the years, overcoming the physical barriers. Rotational drive densities may be able to continue to rule, but I think we are going to see a changing of the guard to Solid State over the next decade. We see it winning designs today for everything that records and needs to be portable — wherever weight and power are critical components to the design decision. All that is remaining to go full on with Solid State storage is to improve the density issue and provide a better cost per MB. By 2025, users with large storage require- ments, such as post houses sup- porting 32K video formats, will be using future Solid State solutions. Corky Seeber is the CEO of Small Tree (

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