A group of hard drive makers – HGST (formerly Hitachi Global Storage Technologies), Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital – have teamed up to form the Storage Products Association (SPA), a new industry body intended to serve as a voice for the storage industry and to promote the role of hard drives in today's data-centric world.
The SPA effectively represents all the remaining hard disk manufacturers active in the global market.
In a statement, the SPA said its mission will be to "help storage customers, partners and users understand, deploy and support current and future storage needs, including the key role of hard drives and solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs) in an effective storage mix for all consumer and business environments."
The SPA will also participate in market research and events, as well as publish materials about end users' storage needs and effective storage usage using a mix of technologies.
Reading between the lines, the SPA appears to be a move by the makers of spinning drives to counter the growing popularity of flash memory storage in end user devices, and in data centre servers and storage arrays, thanks to its higher performance.
In its FAQ on the SPA website, the organisation lists its objectives: "Promote the use and understanding of rotating magnetic media hard drive (RHD) technologies independently developed by member companies, including, but not limited to, solid-state hybrid drive (SSHD) and hard disk drive (HDD) technologies."
Over the past few years, flash-based solid state drives (SSDs) have become increasingly popular, with many laptop and tablet models now shipping with an SSD rather than a hard drive. Meanwhile, some startup storage vendors such as Pure Storage and Violin Memory have focused on building all-flash arrays that threaten to relegate spinning disks to lower tiers in the storage hierarchy, where low cost for holding large volumes of data is more important than performance.
The SPA members would obviously like to put more of a spotlight on traditional magnetic hard drives, and how they can be combined with flash rather than being replaced by it.
Mark Grace, SPA director and senior vice president of marketing at HGST, said that the last ten years have seen demand for storage products shift dramatically with the emergence of cloud computing, internet search, social networks, big data and mobile computing.
"This period of remarkable change is driving the need for innovative and reliable high-performance and high-capacity storage with the best total cost of ownership (TCO), especially in the areas of hyperscale cloud data centre infrastructures and cold storage environments. As storage companies, SPA members are at the forefront of this change, focused on evolving products to support changing market needs," he said.
Some parts of Atacama have not received rainfall for 500 years - but a sudden deluge of water upset the Desert's delicate biological balance
Spitzer Space Telescope could not spot Oumuamua, suggesting that it is actually pretty small
Greenland crater one of the 25 largest impact craters on Earth
This long-sought progenitor star was identified in an image captured by Hubble in 2007