CES 2008: Solid State storage set for massive price drop

Solid State storage, long seen as the future for high-capacity data storage on computers and other client devices is set for a sharp upward spike in adoption, if analyst claims of an imminent and substantial drop in cost prove correct.

Figures released at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by analyst firm iSuppli show Solid State drive (SSD) sales of over 500 million units in 2007, rising to 760 million units by 2011, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 125 per cent.

While SSD sales are expected to grow rapidly, traditional hard disks will continue to dominate the market. Notebook SSD systems will account for 30 per cent of shipments by 2011, with enterprise SSD storage accounting for only two to three per cent of the server market.

In turn, SSD pricing will drop rapidly, from $8.50 (4.25) per GB in 2007 to $0.88c (44p) per GB in 2011. Mechanical hard disc prices will also continue to drop, from $0.47c (23.5p) per GB to $0.11c (5.5p) per GB across the same time period.

Notebooks will remain the focus of SSD sales, with traditional hard drives declining to just 23 per cent of the market by 2011. While SSD will become important, it is hybrid hard drives that mix flash with traditional hard disks that are expected to account for the largest proportion of sales. iSuppli claims the switch to hybrid hard drives will reduce sales of flash-based turbo memory cache, as hybrid drives offer many of the same features.

SSDs will gain notebook market share at the high end, and will eventually move into servers and desktops - however, capacity and price will remain constrained. There are some disadvantages to SSD, but the long-term adoption curve looks rosy. Delays may actually improve SSD's chances, according to iSuppli analyst Krishna Chander. "The longer manufacturers have to wait, the more they learn about the customer needs and requirements," he said.