Desktop storage becoming a bottleneck?

The other day I was reading about Western Digital readying the first ever 10TB HDD, with SMR Technology and helium (you can read more about it here.) And I was really happy and felt that finally desktop storage is catching up to the needs of content creators and even content consumers.

sandisk-extreme-pro-512gb-sdxc-memory-card However, today I read about SanDisk launching world’s first 512GB SDXC card (thanks Ravi for the heads up)! Yes that’s right; SanDisk has introduced 512GB of storage in a memory card, which is almost the same size as a postage stamp and weighs only a few grams!

With this launch, SD card capacity has grown 1,000 times in just over a decade. And while during the same period, hard drive capacities have grown many folds as well; their growth hasn’t been as spectacular.

Come to think of it, if you managed to fill that 512GB SD Cards 20 times, you will have enough data to fill that upcoming 10TB hard drive and only 16 such memory cards are required to fill the largest capacity hard drive available today!

And while all this seems like a lot of data and to some, sounds like a lot of pirated Blu-ray rips. For content creators, this is all too normal. I mean a single RAW file from even a consumer grade crop sensor DSLR comes out to be 20-30MB in size and if you edit it in Photoshop and save it as PSD, it can easily take up few hundred megabytes of storage.

Then there is video, where a single 12 minute HD clip shot from a DSLR can take up around 4GB of space and that too when it is shot in a highly compressed format. And now that the world is finally moving towards 4k video (3840x2160p), these files are only going to get bigger and fatter. In fact SanDisk is mainly marketing this card towards video shooters.

While professionals with deep pockets will always have the option of running large RAID arrays in storage servers to meet growing storage demands, for hobbyist, it can be quite a financially and technically challenging affair. Something I am sure many will be unable to meet, and will likely end up limiting their creativity, in order to stay within the limitation of desktop storage.

As a consumer, I can only hope and pray for a new technological breakthrough, which would allow hard disk manufacturers to come out with drives which are much-much larger in size and at the same time, are fast enough to meet to rigour of handling large files. Till then, I guess it is time to start saving and planning for a DIY storage server.


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