Is cloud storage catching up to physical hard drives?
Data given to the Guardian has shown that hard drive capacity sales have dropped year on year since 2010. Whilst the main factor for this appears to be the 2011 floods in Thailand which significantly disrupted supplies of hard drive components, this was exacerbated by the rapid consumer adoption of cloud storage services.
Whilst supplies have returned to normal, prices are still higher than in previous years, further reducing demand. Despite Moore’s law, it is uncertain whether hard drive sales will ever return to the volume they once sold at, due to the very competitive pricing of cloud storage, as well as the added benefits that cloud computing brings. Solid state discs (SSDs) are increasing in capacity but consumers are still more interested in 2-4TB spinning disk drives than the much lower capacity SSDs.
As cloud storage becomes more competitive and cheaper, it will be interesting to see future trends for physical hard drives versus the cloud alternative.