Here in Frankfurt at the SNW Europe 10th Anniversary event at the Congress downtown; it's a very pleasant week of fall weather. In this very pleasant environment SPA made it's debut to the European storage market. SPA is a co-sponsor with the SCSI Trade Association and the Fibre Channel Industry Association in the lead booth hosted by SNIA Europe. The most informative conversation I had took place after one of our Ask-the-Expert presentations.
Following a presentation by Nick Spittle of Toshiba on behalf of SPA I had a conversation with a gentlemen who has been a storage industry engineer and standards representative for a number of major storage vendors for many years. In response to my description of SPA's educational purpose he said: "it's really only a matter of time, and probably not much time, before SSDs completely replace rotational media in laptops, if not all client devices."
I recognized that he uses the same make and model of laptop that I use; it contains an SSD drive and not a hard disk drive. So I asked how long he had his laptop. He said about a year and a half. I then asked him if in that time he had purchased an external hard drive. He thought for a quick second and replied: "no". I didn't believe him.
I asked him: "Are you telling me that since you bought your very fast, diskless laptop you haven't purchased an inexpensive 1 or 2 terabyte hard drive as a back up device, or to archive your music, movies and family photos. He paused and said: "Well, actually I have. I have about four of those external drives at home..."
There are a couple of take aways for me in this exchange. First, those in the storage industry are sometimes too close to recognize their own involvement in trends. Second, we know that the storage market is changing and while we understand the forces causing these changes, we probably don't fully understand how consumers will respond to these changes.
There is a role for consumer and value-chain education and awareness about the changes that lie ahead.