May 18, 2009 – I just got the most recent disk drive shipment projections from IDC, and I was surprised – not only at the rapid ascendancy of SAS but also the rapid demise of Fibre Channel drives.
For example, if IDC’s projections hold up, SAS will account for a full 50% of all enterprise-level drive shipments this year. The rapid growth of SAS comes at the expense of Fibre Channel, which is expected to account for only 19% of drive shipments this year. Enterprise-class SATA drives are expected to make up the remaining 31%, according to John Rydning, IDC’s research director, hard disk drives (HDDs).
And by 2012, IDC estimates that Fibre Channel will have a mere 1% market share, compared to 25% for SATA and 74% for SAS.
“Fibre Channel will continue in small volume after this year, mainly for existing systems that will continue to sell in 2010 and for aftermarket support of current installations,” says Rydning.
He expects next-generation (6Gbps) SAS to further spur adoption of SAS drives (6Gbps arrays are expected near the end of this year), as well as “capacity optimized” drives with native SAS interfaces.
Personally, I don’t think Fibre Channel drives will bite the dust quite so rapidly, but I don’t have access to the raw shipment figures that Rydning does, and he’s been pretty accurate at predicting these things in the past.
I was just surprised at the SAS projections because I still think of SAS as the new kid on the block.