The irresistible rise of NVMe means SATA SSD days are numbered

SATA interfaces for SSDS are on their way out and the NVMe SSD interface will take over in 2020, according to Eyal Shani, Western Digital’s director, technical product marketing. Speaking at the A3 TechLive conference in London last week, he presented a chart showing price trends for 15K, 10K and 7.2K rpm disk drives

According to Shani, the 15K disk drive is already dead – that’s why the price is unchanging on the chart after 2020 – because of SSD cannibalisation.

Eyal Shani

Death-by-SSD is also affecting 10K drives and WD has withdrawn from their manufacture.

The disk drive future in enterprises and hyperscale data centres is 7.2k capacity-optimised drives. They have a substantial price advantage over SSDs and will maintain this differential through increased density.

Asked about the SAS SSD interface, Shani said it was “still here, not going overnight, but most of our effort is in NVMe.”

In other words SAS declining in popularity as well. Shani showed another chart showing data centre SSD revenues by interface from 2017 to 2022:

NVMe grows to domination, with SATA almost disappearing and SAS declining albeit more slowly. WD has even introduced a disk drive box with an NVMe interface – the D3000 in its OpenFlex composable systems line.

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