The last time you may have heard about the word “Storage”, we reckon, would be at a smartphone launch event where the presenter may have stressed on the need of a faster storage solution for “notched-up experience”. As we move towards a more digital world where we like things to be faster than usual, storage solutions across industries will play an important role in keeping the technological revolution ticking. We talked to Jaganathan Chelliah, Director Marketing, Western Digital India, about the change in the storage solutions over the years, the adoption and trends in India, on the future of storage technology, and how the company is capitalising on areas like connected cars, surveillance, next generation gaming to be ahead of the curve.
The biggest change is being seen in India in the data storage landscape which continues to evolve. From using storage solutions like hard disk drives (HDDs) to compact SSDs and Cloud storage, customers as well as businesses have started to embrace new solutions to meet their growing needs.
“With any tech transition, there is a quest for higher performance and a better experience. Clearly, consumers are looking for higher productivity from their PCs and the most critical device that can give a significant performance boost is an internal SSD. Moreover, gaming has become a mainstream application and gaming PCs based on SSDs provide the right experience,” Chelliah told Gadgets 360.
The executive highlighted that it is due to the fact that people are looking for higher productivity, today most of the laptops which are Rs 40,000 and above have transitioned to internal SSDs. According to a report by Spiceworks, most businesses have also standardised on SSDs (instead of HDDs) for desktops (56 percent) and laptops (68 percent). It says that SSD adoption growth will continue into the future.
On similar lines, Chelliah mentions that Western Digital is beginning to witness this trend in the portable storage category as well, and the company is targeting on-the-go content creators. While commenting on price-sensitive markets like India, and the readiness for this transition, the executive says both of these technologies will coexist.
“Whoever wants faster performance will move to SSDs, and whoever is looking for greater value for money and a cost-effective storage solution will opt for high-capacity HDDs,” Chelliah noted. He also pointed out the WD offers a strong portfolio for different customer segments- WD BLACK SSDs for gaming, WD Blue for content creation and productivity applications and WD Green for everyday computing.
NVMe Technology: The Future?
NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is the newest technology in the storage space that is driving digital transformation for many businesses and individuals. In layman’s terms, a storage device with NVMe technology offers faster read and write speeds than one with an older one. NVMe SSDs are plugged into PCI Express bus, and a PCIe Gen 3.0 link is claimed to offer transfer speed more than 2-times than that of SATA interface.
“Until recently, SSDs were using SATA technology for data transfer that was originally designed for HDDs. NVMe technology leverages the PCIe interface and delivers a significant performance boost to SSDs. As a result, consumers are able to experience superior performance on their PCs. Today, if you see, more and more PCs are coming with NVMe slots, so the change has started to reflect and consumers are realising the true potential of the NVMe technology,” Chelliah noted.
One such area that is an accelerator of storage solutions is gaming. According to a report, Covid-19 has resulted in a boom in global video gaming and the market is estimated to reach $170 billion (roughly Rs. 1,25,000 crores) by the end of 2020. WD says that it saw the trend and has solutions like WD_BLACK NVMe powered SSDs that offer ultra-fast transfer speeds. As per a Gartner report, new-age Flash solutions such as NVMe would further drive the adoption in near future.
“In the last six months, the gaming segment grew tremendously, from PC gaming to console gaming, we witnessed a massive uptake as gamers notched up their experience with the right gadgets and solutions. In fact, the primary growth driver for PCs and smartphones in India for the past few quarters have been related to gaming. Irrespective of whether they are playing games on cloud or not they need fast systems to gain an immersive experience and storage is a key component when it comes to the speed of a system,” the executive noted.
With increased demands placed on safety and security globally, video surveillance is expected to grow steadily. WD estimates that the global video surveillance market is expected to reach over $62 billion (roughly Rs. 45,755 crores) in revenue by 2023. According to Chelliah, surveillance as a use case is indeed booming in India.
“We are witnessing a clear transition from being just a recording solution to do post-event analysis to AI-led smart video analytics and management solutions. Today, smart video solutions are being used for a range of applications starting with smart cities management, business analytics in logistics and warehousing, to maintain a healthy and secure workplace for companies and protection of residential and home customers. The emergence of high-resolution cameras with AI capabilities has created a strong need for high capacity storage that can take multiple streams of AI content,” Chelliah highlighted.
Autonomous Vehicles and Connected Cars
Self-driving cars have come a long way, they are not just a concept and with the boom of 5G, it has become easier for the automotive and transportation industries to quickly analyse data to make it a safe experience. This means that data will be oil in such ecosystems. It is reported that new autonomous cars generate and consume 0.75GB of data per second.
With more data being produced by autonomous cars to support systems such as telematics, voice recognition, augmented reality, Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) communications, and more, there is a need for storage systems to capture, preserve, access and transform data. Storage will also be needed to support the computing infrastructures that combine cloud services with in-car computing power to handle the massive amounts of data collected by connected cars.
“Autonomous vehicles are the new data centre on wheels, driving a new generation of storage infrastructure needs. With new applications built into cars, such as dash cameras, autonomous computers, there is more data to store and process than ever before. Our estimates predict that a single autonomous car is expected to have up to 1TB of storage by 2022. It can be said without a doubt, that the future of connected and autonomous cars is all about data,” Chelliah added. According to WD, the connected car penetration is expected to hit 24.4 percent in 2022.
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