By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Hard disk drive manufacturer Seagate Technology has predicted a four-fold rise in data storage by 2012 and claims homes will soon overtake business as the biggest producers of digital data.

The company expects the annual rate of data storage to increase to 374 exabytes in 2012, or 440 per cent more than the total amount of data stored in 2007, as home users continue to expand their digital lifestyles.

“Half of that data will be consumed at home, whereas in the past most of the data consumption has been in the corporate world,” Seagate Technology vice president and managing director – Asia Pacific sales and marketing, BS The, said during a visit to Australia last week.

The rapid rate of data creation will also be aided by ubiquitous broadband networks, Teh said, which will see an increase in broadband users to 25 per cent of the world’s population, or around 1.6 billion users.

But while the amount of data stored will increase significantly, drive capacity will also rise to meet storage demand meaning HDD unit sales will experience a more modest rise of just under 50 per cent in five years.

“Translating that into the number of disc drives, in calendar year 2007 there were roughly 500 million hard disk drive units sold, but by 2012 we expect it to reach 700 million units,” said Teh.

Around 10 per cent of these drives are expected to be new hybrid HDDs with built-in flash memory to speed up performance, while the company, which does not yet make SSD drives, played down the role SSDs will play in the 2012 storage landscape.

BS Teh also said the current high definition optical disc format war will be of little concequence by 2012.

“It doesn’t matter if it is Blu-ray of HD DVD, because the amount of content that is going to be distributed physically is going to come down and increasingly it is going to be electroincally distributed, and that will drive the growth of disc storage,” he said.

Seagate Technology owns and markets both the Seagate and Maxtor digital storage brands.