The flash revolution will be delayed – due to an unexpected strong demand for enterprise hard drives

The tech storage industry consensus is that enterprise hard drives sales will fall at the expense of solid state drives (SSDs) in all areas except for hyperscale data centres.

This migration seems well underway – however… 2019’s fourth quarter saw the SSD share of all enterprise shipped storage capacity shrinking. Total SSD capacity shipped was 10.4 per cent of total enterprise storage capacity shipped, down from 12 per cent a year ago.

This unlikely turn of events was recorded by the market research firm TrendForce and revealed in a note sent by Wells Fargo analyst Aaron Rakers to his subscribers. Total shipped enterprise storage capacity across disk drives and SSDs was 169.79 EB, with disk drives up 83 per cent year on year to account for 144.1 EB,

Within this figure, mission-critical HDD capacity was 5.93 EB, up four per cent. This is the high-performance, 2.5-inch format sector – which is most at risk from SSD cannibalisation. Yet it is still growing in capacity terms. Nearline enterprise drive shipped capacity was 138.2 EB, up a stonking 89 per cent.

Total enterprise SSD capacity shipped was 16.69 EB, up 60 per cent y/y, and lagging behind nearline enterprise disk drive capacity growth. Some 10.325 million enterprise SSDS were shipped, a rise of 43 per cent. There has been a flash supply glut but this has not yet prompted enterprises to buy a lot more flash.

Samsung accounted for 44.4 per cent of the enterprise SSD capacity in the 2019 fourth quarter, Intel accounted for 21.9 per cent, Micron 12.7 per cent, sk Hynix 6.1 per cent, Kioxia 5.7 per cent, and WD 4.8 per cent.

N.B. Blocks & Files has covered the topic of HDDs vs SSDs in enterprise data centres in several articles, including these four below.