Data Storage Trends 2017, Part I: Sales Decline, NAND Shortage Continues

Data storage has changed dramatically over the past decade, and storage capacity seems to be ever-expanding. Consequently, how businesses and individuals choose to store information has shifted away from hard drives to flash storage, and throughout 2017, these trends will continue. Of course, data storage will have a direct impact on economies around the globe and supply chain management, but understanding the top 10 trends in data storage, as explained by, alludes to even bigger changes on the horizon.

Throughout this series, we will delve into what trends to expect and how they will impact supply chains. And, consider how these trends will play out in the years to come.

Overall Sales of Storage Will Drop Throughout 2017

In 2016, sales of data storage started to decline as people found cheaper, readily available means of “putting away” information. Many believe the age of hard drives and disk-based storage solutions is coming to a close. While you can still purchase computers with disk-based storage, all-flash storage solutions are replacing their antiquated counterparts. Furthermore, even people still using disk-based storage will become more apt at using a hybrid of both disk-based and flash-based storage as the year progresses.

This means the overall sales of data storage will decline in 2017. But, it does not spell doom for the industry. Instead, it indicates a future resurgence may quickly become evident. Thus, supply chain management providers will continue to look for new technologies that benefit their customers and business-to-business partners. Moreover, the expansion of the cloud will expand opportunities for value-added service providers and parties involved in reverse logistics, including the recycling, reclamation and repair of used storage devices.

The NAND Chip Shortage Will Define SSD Production and Distribution

Negative-and chips (NAND) chips refer to a Boolean expression that returns a false value if and only if all inputs are true. Regarding data storage, NAND chips rely on this logic equation to perform insanely fast calculations in near-infinitesimal spaces, but production of NAND chips is finite. In other words, manufacturers are producing chips as quickly as possible.

Per analyst firm TrendForce, NAND chip manufacturing capacity will grow 6 percent in 2017. Yet, their demand will increase as they are an integral component in solid state drives (SSDs), which are expected to become the standard storage format for more than 50 percent of PCs sold by the end of the year. Consequently, the availability of SSDs will play a role in the cost of new PCs and equipment purchased this year, possibly increasing costs to supply chain entities. Of course, the cloud will continue to provide storage, but if an entity needs to upgrade equipment, they could be faced with higher costs or fewer options as the NAND shortage grows worse.

Then What?

Regardless of the slight decrease expected in storage sales throughout 2017, the industry remains strong. New technologies are being developed, such as the transition to 3-D NAND chips and creation and use of enterprise-class SSDs, which will empower a faster, more responsive supply chain. But, the role of the cloud is changing too, which will be discussed in the next post.

To learn more about trends in supply chain management, connect with Flash Global online.


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