IDC: Hard Drive Market to See Explosive Growth

Some believe (and many are hoping) that solid state drives (SSDs) will spell the end for mechanical hard drives, and at some point, that very well may be the case. But it isn't going to happen this year, the next, or even the year after that, provided IDC's data proves correct. In a study titled Worldwide Hard Disk Drive 2010-2014 Forecast, the market research firm predicts that hard drive shipments won't just survive, but thrive through for at least the next four years.

The enterprise sector alone will keep hard drives afloat, accounting for more than 12 million units by 2014, increasing the total number from 40.5 million in 2009 to 52.6 million by 2014. Fueling this rapid enterprise expansion is increased interest in cloud services.

But it's not just business that will benefit. While penny pinching enthusiasts continue to shun SSDs for the high price per gigabyte ratios, HDDs will decline at a rate of about 25 percent to 30 percent per year in performance oriented HDDs, IDC says.

"We're definitely seeing intensive cost cutting measures among end users striving to bring more efficiency to current solutions," John Rydning, IDC's research director for Storage Mechanisms, said in a statement. "The employment of technologies such as data deduplication, thin provisioning, storage multitiering, and storage virtualization are all contributing to reducing end-user costs."

At the same time, IDC sees the market starting to shift away from higher cost performance drives to lower cost, higher capacity units, at least in the enterprise.