Solid State Drives: On The Verge of Revolutionizing Performance, But Facing Rough Year

Solid State Drives (SSD) are the next revolution in storage. Or, more accurately, we can describe this as an ongoing revolution. As costs of the technology dwindle in comparison of traditional hard disk drives (HDD), we stand to see performance of everything from consumer hardware to high-performance servers increase. However, 2013 is the first year in a long time in which prices have gone on an upswing, meaning that our progress towards making SSD central in data storage has slowed.

HDDs have reached a point of density in which they can hold astonishing amounts of data, but unfortunately have all but leveled off in terms of price per unit of storage. SSDs contain no moving parts and therefore are able to deliver increased access speeds, and unlike HDDs the price per unit of storage has fallen almost linearly in recent years. 256 GB SSD units are becoming common on consumer devices, even though a year or two ago they were considered prohibitively expensive, meaning that users often had to settle for 8-16 GB SSD devices.

However, we will have to wait a while in order to see further increases in the affordability of solid state devices. One of the primary components of SSD is NAND flash memory. Unfortunately, memory device manufacturers are running out of capacity for producing NAND flash units, leading to an increase in costs and global decline in supply. The shortages started in the early part of 2013, and manufacturers have not announced any upswing in production in the immediate future. This means that for the rest of the year, we are likely to see a small, gradual increase in the price of SSD units.

Hopefully, we will see an end to the shortage by next year, and then we can continue on a path towards SSD becoming a welcome fixture in both consumer and data center storage technology alike.

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