The Register’s Chris Mellor contends that the Cloud is going to impact disk drive manufacturers’ bottom line in a big way, the inescapable logic being that with the increasing popularity and success of Dropbox, iCloud and SkyDrive, et al., users won’t need disk drives on their computers — a grim prospect for Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital.
Mellor notes that his Dropbox account synchs files among an iMac two notebooks, and a tablet, three of the four devices having flash memory and no disks, although he does back up everything on the desktop and notebook systems to external disk drives.
I also use Dropbox to synch files among three notebooks and an iPad, three of the four still having disk drives, and I spread backup among three largish external hard drives.
Mellor says that every day he uses Cloud-based file and synch and his files are available and synchronised between his systems, increases his confidence in the Cloud’s reliability, with the reasoning: “I don’t keep all my cash in a hardware container in my house. Why should I keep my data in hardware containers in my house?” Compelling point, however he concedes that he’s not quite ready to say goodbye to HDD storage yet, noting that he likes having the disks that hold my data in hand and doesn’t, as yet, trust the Cloud to be always there when he needs it, and certainly doesn’t trust his internet service provider to be always there when he needs it, and he likes Apple’s Time Machine to restore files.
Me too exssentially, although I’ve been more partial to Carbon Copy Cloner. In my case, Internet access especially is a long way short of being 100 percent reliable, and living in the boonies, I’m essentially dependent on a single supplier, unless I want to go the satellite Internet route. Until reliability improves a lot, I’m not going to be comfortable about not having up to date hard disk data backups in hand.
Mellor says if Time Machine worked with Apple’s iCloud and iCloud/SkyDrive/DropBox was rock-solid and the internet service was rock-solid, he probably would never buy a disk drive again, but that’s an awful lot of “ifs.”
The danger for HDD vendors, however, is that arguably few computer users are as belt-and-suspenders fastidious about data backup as Mellor and your humble servant are, and with a bit of enhancement to network and cloud storage service reliability, millions or even tens of millions of desktop and notebook PC users will stop buying disk drives, not to mention the trend to solid state storage in laptops and increasingly desktops as well, and to say nothing of tablet computers, with the likelihood being that over the next half-decade or so, consumer desktop, notebook and external disk drive sales will decline dramatically toward a full-scale collapse.
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