Keep an eye on future data storage technology

Magnetic drums, tape drives, floppy disks, hard disks, compact disks, digital video disks, and many other technologies have all been widely used as storage media. Today, the road to fast, reliable, affordable and durable storage media continues at full speed.

Now that new storage technologies are booming, let’s take a quick look at how the data storage industry can advance in the coming years.

Current outlook for storage technology

According to Tong Zhang, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, co-founder and chief scientist at ScaleFlux, technology, deployment models, and cross-industry issues are all contributing to the evolution of data storage. Increasing new technologies and further accelerating growth in data generation are also driving storage technology forward. He says computing and storage deployment models need to evolve as edge, near-edge, and IoT devices change the landscape of IT infrastructure. “Cross-industry issues such as data security and environmental impact / sustainability are also key drivers of data storage change.”

Currently, four different factors driving the evolution of storage technology are cost, capacity, interface speed, and density, said Allan Buxton, forensic director of data recovery company Secure Data Recovery Services. He explains that hard disk manufacturers are competing with solid-state drive (SSD) manufacturers by offering higher storage capacity at lower cost while reducing access and seek times. “Solid-state makers are touting fast I / O speeds and the ability to quickly adopt new form factors.” Both SSD and hard disk makers are touting improved reliability, but actual testing But there is no clear winner, Baxton said.

Tape cartridge

According to Baxton, tape technology is firmly rooted in the role of corporate archiving. Most manufacturers of LTO-7 and LTO-8 tape drives have a roadmap to bring product liners into even larger storage volumes, he says.

Tong Zhang, ScaleFlux

Data cartridge technology will continue to show gradual advances in storage density and bit cost, driven by continuous improvements in magnetic tape readers and read channel signal processing, Zhang said.

Hard drive

Hard disk technology continues to move to shingled magnetic recording technology to maintain gradual improvements in storage density and bit cost, Zhang said. “Host-managed single HDDs will be widely deployed in data centers,” he says. “Dual actuator HDDs can also gain traction.”

While the development of faster interfaces continues, Buxton predicts that a significant increase in hard disk storage will improve capacity and power efficiency. “On the other hand, the next big thing is heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which is about to expire next year or so.” Designed as an alternative to perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR), HAMR is an existing one. You only need to minimize the cost of manufacturing your hard disk while increasing the capacity in the form factor.

Meanwhile, some hard disk manufacturers have already begun to consider making helium-filled enterprise-class hard disks that provide platters with a low-density rotating environment. “This means that the disk can provide the same read / write speed of 7,200 or 10,0000 rpm with less power,” says Buxton.

Solid state drive

In the SSD storage sector, Zhang expects quad-level cell (QLC) technology to be rapidly adopted as a new tier in the data storage tier. QLC is popular because it offers more capacity at a lower cost than previous Triple Level Cell (TLC).

SSDs generally continue to improve as the interface bus improves. “Manufacturers are currently taking advantage of PCI-Express 4.0 bandwidth improvements … With the right SSDs, they will read and write faster,” says Baxton. Promotion to increase capacity has not stopped. Baxton predicts that QLC cells will eventually be replaced by pentalevel cells (PLCs).

Allan Buxton, Secure Data Recovery Service

Compute storage is still in its infancy, but the benefits it brings to compute, storage, and network efficiency bring great value to users, Zhang said. “Certain transparent computing features such as transparent compression and encryption will be widely available on enterprise-grade SSDs,” he predicts.

Storage technology: I’m looking forward to it

Zhang looks forward to a promising future for cutting-edge storage technologies, including DNA storage. “Actively researched DNA storage is a promising ultra-low-cost archive storage technology,” he says. However, many technical challenges need to be overcome before DNA storage can become a marketable technology. “In the near future, magnetic recording and flash memory will continue to be the only commercially viable data storage technology,” Zhang said.

DNA-based storage continues to be investigated, but research in other advanced areas such as light and fluorescence is also underway. “The discs aren’t dead either. Recently, we announced a CD / Blu-Ray form factor that can store terabytes at once,” says Baxton. “One of these [approaches] We haven’t seen it on the market in a way that can compete with existing technology, “he added.

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