Solid State Drive Trends and Forecasts for 2009

By Joanne De Peralta

The worldwide outlook for 2009 is not a positive one. The global economic crisis has pushed forecasts down to very conservative figures for most industries — including the Solid State Drive Market. Recently, IDC adjusted its Worldwide 2008-2012 Solid State Drive Forecast Update to factor in the effects of the financial crisis that hit major economies in 2008. IDC expects continued slowdown of more economies in 2009. As the world feels the weight of this global recession, IT spending is expected to decrease and business road maps are also likely to extend.

For the Solid State Storage market, industry watchers and research firms are still positive that there will still be modest growth for the market in 2009. Among the factors that are seen to counter the gloomy economic backdrop are pricing, market adoption, and of course the inherent strengths of SSD.

SSD Pricing
In 2008, various companies launched their own brands of notebooks packed with SSDs. Although widely publicized, consumers were not ready to embrace the new technology mainly because of price. Except for a select few niche market segments that had the need and the dollars to spare, the enticement of larger capacities, low power consumption, and faster speeds was not enough to justify the price. This was a pre-global recession consumer outlook. This year, because of the continued drop in the price of NAND flash and DRAM brought about by its supply imbalance, SSDs will have more elbow room to lower its price and be more competitive than ever.

Market Adoption of SSD
SSD adoption is also seen as a growth driver for 2009, especially by most flash memory manufacturers. It has already gained traction in the portable computing market by enabling improved performance, reliability, and extended battery life. IDC has recognized a good adoption opportunity for SSD in ultra-low-cost personal computers (ULCPCs) or mini notebooks due to its durability, small form factors, and low power consumption.

SSDs Inherent Strength
For the enterprise market, SSDs inherent strength plays a vital role in strengthening its position as a viable option in servers and enterprise storage. BiTMICRO Networks for its part announced the shipment of its E-Disk Altima E3F4GL Fiber Channel Drive in the last quarter of 2008. This model offers speedier performances at sustained rates of up to 230 MB per second and up to 55,000 I/O operations per second. The E3F4FL solid-state drive delivers a record-breaking storage capacity of up to 640GB (in standard 1″ high 3.5″ form factors) by utilizing the latest high-density single level cell (SLC) NAND flash memory chips. This allows data center administrators to handle ever-increasing amounts of data while leveraging the performance benefits of 4Gbit FC technology.

Products like these pacify turbulent economic conditions. As the SSD market further matures in 2009, more breakthroughs are expected, more possibilities are tapped and prototypes are finalized. These products will eventually become commonplace and keep the trade buzzing with activity. Much to the delight of many, most of the challenges posted for the SSD market are only expected to last within the same year. Growth is forecasted to be back to normal for the 2010 and move fast beyond. Until then, SSD will be business as usual for 2009.

Joanne De Peralta works for BiTMICRO Networks