Two of the three remaining hard disk vendors—Seagate and Western Digital—recently rolled out massive 20 TB hard drives, with the third disk jockey, Toshiba, not far behind with its 18 TB drives. But media growth isn’t limited to spinning disks, as the latest iteration of the LTO tape standard—LTO 9—can now accommodate 45 TB of compressed data on single tape cartridge. Even in the solid-state era, old media doesn’t go away, it just gets bigger and bigger.
And it will get even bigger. In the last decade, it was thought that hard disk technology was reaching its technical limits, and it was predicted to top out at 10TB, then 12 TB, and so on. But newer ways of encoding disks and replacing the air in drives with helium have knocked down those capacity barriers—and promise to continue to do so.
Seagate is using HAMR technology to cram more data onto hard drives, and expects to up the ante to 22 TB or 24 TB soon. WD isn’t asleep at the wheel either, and expects to ride other new recording techs to mind-boggling 50 TB capacities over the next five or 10 years.
These capacity developments aren’t just a game of one-upmanship among rivals, the high-capacity drives are actually trying to keep pace with the amounts of data that companies are hoarding these days. As organizations find new ways to reap business benefits through data analysis, they’re stashing away more and more data—in fact, most companies are saving everything.
But saving everything doesn’t necessarily translate into good data management and protection and, frankly, most companies simply aren’t prepared to handle the kinds of data volumes they’re amassing.
That dilemma may also be opportunity for savvy resellers and consultants. You can recommend storage systems management tools that centralize administration of multiple systems. And you can point your clients in the right direction for data protection that can dedupe and integrate cloud resources. Maybe most importantly, you can help them develop a plan to archive less frequently accessed data onto immutable storage systems.
Those are all excellent recommendations, but to leverage them most efficiently you’ll need to engage in some non-technical activities, like taking a deep dive into your customers’ data. The more you understand about the data on a business requirements level, the better advice and direction you’ll be able to provide to implement the above technologies most effectively, and to help your clients can a grip on their burgeoning data stores.