When's Toyota Going To Make Prius Hard Drives?

from the not-worried dept

Analyst firm IDC is getting some attention today for a study that warns of a coming (cue ominous music) storage shortage, as the amount of data that gets created outstrips the world’s supply of storage. The firm cites online video, and the ease with which it can be copied, as being a major contributor to the data boom. Some are pointing out that IDC’s claim simply doesn’t make sense, since it’s impossible to produce data above and beyond what can be stored. IDC’s message sounds a little bit like what we were talking about yesterday with oil. People have been warning about a coming oil shortage for years, but technology that allows us to keep finding more, and use what we have more efficiently, which continually pushes back the day that we run out. There’s no doubt that in the next few years, storage will continue to get cheaper, allowing the exploding demand for it to be met. If you’re worried about this, consider how much data we’re producing today compared to, say, 10 years ago. Seems like we did fine meeting this need.

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Comments on “When's Toyota Going To Make Prius Hard Drives?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

hmm let me guess, an AOL user?
1: braindead and make s no sense; check
2: uses the term “LOL” ; check

I’m sorry sir your kind are not wanted on the internet, please press and hold the alt key, while doing this please also press the F4 key, then burn your hard drive while chanting “I will never use a computer again”

thank you for you cooperation.

Joe Smith says:

Econ 101

You would think that IDC and all these other analysts would remember econ 101 – markets clear, supply and demand balance, if the storage weren’t there or wasn’t cheap it would not be used. If the price per bit goes down people willl use more storage and if it doesn’t they won’t.

I remember posting to the Motley Fool some years ago discussing investing in EMC – someone said that the demand for storage was expanding exponentially so the prospects for the company were great, I said that since the price per bit of storage was falling exponentially the prospects were not so good and that the fair value of the EMC stock was $10 to $15 rather than the $50 or so it was then trading at. I made money on that short. Today EMC closed at $13.40 with a trading range over the last 52 weeks of $9.44 to $14.89. I wish all of my market predictions were that accurate.

dorpus says:

Hard drive bottleneck

If you’ve had a systems programming course before, then you know there is a 1:10:100:1000 ratio between

CPU cycle: memory fetch time: hard drive retrieval time: human response time.

Although people make a big deal out of faster CPUs, most everyday computer operations are bottlenecked by the speed of the hard drive. Hard drive speeds have been increasing in rough correspondence to Moore’s Law, but they receive much less publicity.

|333173|3|_||3 says:


No, no, he’s right. Physucs world had an article in it a few moinths back about the two standards avaliable, one of which has already been released to market. SOo far it is a high-capacity, write-once tape alternaltive,

Like DVD-Rs they are slow to write compared to thier read time. THey cannot be re-written yet. The drives are hugely expensive.

OTOH, they are only really production prototypes (ready for use commercially, but not for full production) and so are not in full-scale production, which means that the price is likely to fall, especially if one of the majors buys out one of the companies.

Liam says:

We “did fine” meeting the needs of data storage ten years ago because we weren’t approching the superparamagnetic limit as we are now.

As for alternatives to magnetic data storage; don’t expect any soon. There’s too much invested in mag mats and the closest alternative we had, MRAM, has turned out to be a complete waste of research and a massive drain of money.

When it comes to ‘data’ though, we’re not talking about hard drives; pretty much everything important is still backed up with tape reels, and you can make that stuff for next to nothing in vast quantities.

Nobody Special says:

history anyone?

I am not that old, and I recall when storage was not so cheap. The funny thing is that demand drove lower costs. And it still does. In the early 90s used drives would sell for $1 a megabyte. Now you buy new for less then a $1 a gigabyte.

Also, note that clear space draws clutter. And much of the clutter can be cleaned when the space is needed for more useful things. This is true in both the physical world and the digital one.

Jayrad says:


“Although people make a big deal out of faster CPUs, most everyday computer operations are bottlenecked by the speed of the hard drive.”

I would tend to agree with this, but it really only holds for the first time data is retrieved. After your program (Warcraft, Word, whatever) loads in RAM, your hard drive speed becomes a non-factor. In the most intensive computing environment, video gaming, it also depends on the smartness of the program. If your game knows it will need to load a texture ahead of time and fetches it, it won’t interrupt your game play. But if it waits until the instant the texture needs to be drawn to fetch it, you will see the delay while the drive references the texture file.

“Hard drive speeds have been increasing in rough correspondence to Moore’s Law, but they receive much less publicity.”

This I can’t agree with. 10 years ago my desktop computer had a 5400RPM hard drive and could transfer at 100MB/sec. Today my desktop hard drive runs at 7200RPM and can transfer at 150MB/sec. A multi-thousand dollar Ultra320 SCSI drive can transfer at 320MB/sec.

So even comparing top of the line today, with standard desktops of 10 years ago, that’s definitely not doubling every 24 months. Someone please correct me if my speeds are wrong 🙂

So while, yes, drives are slow, I don’t foresee them getting much faster until mass solid-state storage becomes the norm. Until then, manufacturers and programmers need to start making more intelligent use of existing hard drive technology.

Trouble Maker says:

two cents worth

Oil Shortage? That is like Global Warming. If you take a snapshot of it at one moment in time and base your theory and assumptions on that one snapshot it is easy to illustrate your agenda.

It is up to the people to stand up on their own education to seek the truth and the facts and form their own opinion on these matters instead of becoming a mindless data storage bin for the News Media that sells its own agenda.

As for IDC, sounds like they are getting ready to effect an agenda of their own by supporting someone’s desire to market a mass storage device so they have to create a market need.

But what do I know…

Adam says:

The problem isn’t storage but bandwidth (bot the net and the interconnect technologies). So I can get 5-10GB online storage but how useful is it if it’s going to take me days to upload stuff over my 512k cable uplink??? The amount/size of my files doubles or so every year, drive size quadruples or so, but the hard drive speed barely doubled in many years. So it takes longer no to fill up larger drives now that it used to few years ago.


jon (user link) says:


Sorry, but that is not a very good argument. Oil is a limited natural resource. We can not invent a new kind of oil. Data storage is much more complex and we *can* invent new methods of storing data. And anyway, if you want a car as a metaphor hard drives are more like the fuel system, holding the data. Also, as technology develops data storage tends to get cheaper per unit, whereas oil gets more expensive because what is left is becoming more difficult to get at and less substantial. And the quantity of oil available is shrinking while demand increases. Meanwhile, storage available is constantly increasing with demand.

step back (user link) says:


One thing “we” can certainly invent are delusional ideations both about crude oil and about available data storage technologies.

If demand for oil grows faster than the rate at which oil can be found and extracted, then hello Houston we’ve got a problem.

Similarly, if demand for data storage space grows faster than the rate at which we can manuafacture new storage space, then hello Houston we’ve got a problem.

Right now it looks as if demand growth rate in both domains is outstripping production growth rates. But then again, as Albert Einstein was fond of commenting about regarding compound interest and human stupidity ….

jon says:

Re: What

“But then again, as Albert Einstein was fond of commenting about regarding compound interest and human stupidity”

Find the sources of those two quotes and I’ll buy you a dozen hard drives. “Fond of commenting” is, at best, misleading. You seem to like pointing out fallacies in argument on your website, but you’re pretty quick to use “quotes” that have nothing more than urban legend status as your clincher (a clincher that didn’t make sense by the way).

Please support your use of the word “delusional.” Again, you criticized posts on this very website for name calling, but that’s all you’ve done. And while I’m at it I may as well mention that there is no substance to your comment at all, aside from unsupported speculation supporting the speculation of a future demand and supply crisis for storage.

Duodave (user link) says:

I dont get this...

How could there be more data than storage? At my IPP alone, they make redundant backups of every site they host. That seems to me to be multiple copies of the SAME data. And it’s like the chicken before the egg – the only “data” that isn’t already stored is non-digital, right? So is that, technically, data? If it is, well then we can call anything written on paper “data” and wait – paper itself is the storage media! This just doesn’t make sense – you HAVE to have media before DATA EVEN EXISTS.

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