The cloud is putting a smile on the faces of hard drive sellers

Opinion

The cloud is putting a smile on the faces of hard drive sellers


A few years ago in a conversation with a Seagate executive set out a vision of the world that was full of hard drives. Your PC, TV, car and even fridge would all have drives and even more opportunities would emerge.

That conversation pre-dated the cloud and the social networking revolution. So it was with an eye to finding out what could be seen in the crystal ball now that I head to Barcelona to sit down with Western Digital's CEO John Coyne.

If anyone should have a view of the future it is someone like Coyne who has been in the industry for decades, 27 years spent at WD, and has seen it go through many transitions already.

He had a smile on his face throughout our meeting and although admitted the industry didn't see the explosion of sites like Facebook and YouTube coming it had been a very pleasant development increasing the demand for drives from the likes of Google down to people wanting more storage at home.

Coyne spoke of the development of private clouds, not just the ones based around companies but also individuals, as one of the areas it expected a large amount of growth to come from.

People have a natural desire to want to hold onto their information on a device they can see and as wireless spreads through homes and the devices start talking to each other there will be a need for not just back-up but improved segmentation of data.

These are interesting times for the storage industry and over the next few years the growth in data is not being debated and now it seems neither is the demand for hard drives. Those who saw the cloud as a threat will need to think again.

This was first published in May 2010

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