Zandré Rudolf, DCCZandré Rudolf, DCC

Solid state drives have enabled improved mobile technology

Solid state drives (SSDs) are the storage technology of the future, says Zandré Rudolph, retail manager at IT distributor Drive Control Corporation (DCC).

While the technology has yet to reach its tipping point, Rudolf says sales of SSDs have been steadily growing, while shipments of hard disk drives (HDDs), SSD’s predecessor, have been declining.

“Hard drives are in danger of losing their stronghold in the data storage market,” says Rudolf. While SSDs don’t have nearly the market share of HDDs, Rudolf says change is coming. “It’s where the market is slowly but gradually leaning towards.”

One of the contributing factors to the growth of SSDs is the ultrathin notebook and tablet market, explains Rudolf. “I think SSD has been a big contributor to the success of mobile computing over the last couple of years. There was finally the right type of product to deliver the type of devices that everyone was looking for.”

SSDs are lighter and smaller than traditional hard drives, so their small footprint allows notebook manufacturers to design smaller and thinner notebooks. “We’ve seen the impact it’s had on the design of notebooks. It’s SSD technology that has allowed people to build notebooks with small form factors.”

Rudolf says the benefi ts of SSD are numerous. The drives have no moving parts, which minimises wear and tear, and they don’t get as hot as HDDs. They’re also a more robust technology, being less susceptible to shocks and drops.

“And since SSDs have no moving parts, they require less power to operate, which means you’ll get longer battery life out of your notebook,” adds Rudolf. They’re also faster because of this lack of moving parts.

“I think SSD is probably one of the best, most innovative products to come out in the IT industry in the  last couple of years,” says Rudolf. “It’s really the type of technology or product that can change the landscape.”

The increase in sales indicates that big manufacturers are buying the technology for ultra-mobile devices. “There’s a shift already happening. I’m not saying it’s going to happen this year, but there are many things pointing in that direction. There’s a change bound to happen.”

While SSDs are snapping at the heels of hard drives, Rudolf says the traditional storage devices won’t lose their dominance just yet.

“There are a lot of things that need to happen with SSDs,” he notes. At the moment, prices of SSDs compared to HDDs are too high for many customers to seriously consider swapping out their old drives.
SSD capacities are not quite as large as HDD capacities, he adds. “To be very frank, the capacities of SSDs are not where the capacities of HDDs are. When you look at the cost per gigabyte, hard drives are still the more affordable option.”

However, Rudolf predicts consumer demand and technological maturity will drive down the cost this year. “We’ll see bigger capacities come out in 2013. As the technology evolves and grows, we’ll see bigger capacities and we’ll see the pricing come down. I think pricing is the thing everyone is waiting for.”

Rudolf says while SSD prices will probably never match HDD prices, the closer the prices get to each other, the faster SSD sales will increase.

“Consumers will start accepting the product,” he says.

“We’ve passed the stage of early adopters only.

“It’s becoming widely accepted as a product for the future.”