The Memory Market: trends and predictions

COMPUTING

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Image: Grant Rau. By BiztechAfrica
Grant Rau

By Grant Rau, business development manager, Kingston Technology South Africa

The growth of digital information, mobile devices and the consumption of content and applications over the Internet are changing the way users manage and store their data.

This transformation, which affects both consumers and the business sector has also led to a change in the memory market – which must adapt to the new reality for easy storage and access of information anytime, anywhere, with the fastest speed and safely.

Kingston Technology envisions five trends that are shaping the present and the future of the memory market.

Mobility

According to IDC, there are more than 1,000 million mobile workers worldwide, while nearly 30 percent of all portable devices, tablets, smart phones, netbooks, and ultrabooks will be connected to the Internet by 2014.

These smart devices are designed to provide a new user experience on how to interact with content, providing access anytime, anywhere. However, the models available at present have limited capacity, which is an excellent opportunity for NAND (an technology architecture used in photography memory cards and USB devices) Flash memory solutions, which are used as additional external storage, especially as a result of the growth of the video globally, and in South Africa.

Storage via a USB key or Secure Digital (SD) memory card and Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) all based on NAND flash technology, allow expanded capacity, as well as significant increases in the data transfer rate – optimising the user experience.

Virtualisation

Virtualisation is a necessary step to enable organisations to reduce the number of physical servers, reduce costs and prepare their infrastructure to make the leap to the cloud.

But virtualisation does not only require more powerful processors and greater storage capacity, memory optimisation also needs to take place in order to be able to effectively respond to the proliferation of virtual machines and their increased workloads. With a new generation of processors capable of supporting more than 20 virtual machines per server, only higher capacity memory will offer the best performance of the workloads.

By combining this advanced memory – Dynamic Random Access memory (DRAM) technology, which will soon offer a dedicated 32 GB capacity, with new and improved virtualisation management software – like VMware, companies can reap the full benefits of virtualisation.

Business Performance

Companies must increase the capacity of PCs and laptops, but above all they need to increase performance. Instead of buying completely new equipment, more and more organisations opt for SSDs (Solid State Drives/ or Solid State Disks) based on NAND Flash technology.

Compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDD, Hard Disk Drive), SSDs have no moving parts, are highly resistant to viruses, generate less heat, make minimal noise and consume less energy. Additionally, when integrated into an old PC or laptop, greater speeds, uploading times and system applications, are experienced, enhancing device performance by up to ten times.

This ability to extend the life of the equipment has allowed the SSD technology to reach its maturity. The South African market is already at the tipping point of opting for SSD over HDD, with prices below $1/ R8.40 per GB. This type of pricing, coupled with the current sweet spot of the 128GB SSD capacity, will make the transition easier. The ideal price-point would be R999.00 for a 128GB SSD being readily available at a retail level.

In the next five years, SDD disks will constitute the main form of internal storage on client devices, especially in businesses – to grow by 54 percent by 2013, according to IDC.

Speed

With an increase in data transfer rate of up to ten times versus the USB 2.0 standard, the new USB 3.0 interface makes this an ideal choice for external storage devices.

Compatible USB 3.0 motherboards will become more popular over the next few years, while a quarter of the USB devices will be ready for the standard in 2013, according to In-Stat, a year later, there will be about 1,500 million devices running on the new USB 3.0 interface.

Storage and Hard Drive data back-up are some of the first applications taking advantage of this increase in speed, where USB keys allow users to make back-ups of entire disks and accommodate vast libraries of music, pictures and movies much quicker.

Furthermore, by using SSD drives compatible with USB 3.0, the increase performance becomes truly remarkable – the world's fastest combination in data transfer.

Security

The loss of personal or corporate data continues to increase, especially with the increase of mobile devices and portable storage memories.

To avoid this loss of confidential information caused by human error or intentional theft, encryption of data is essential. However, only ten percent of USB keys now have some form of encryption, ranging from 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protection to FIPS-140 Level 2.

In the coming years, most USB keys used will have some kind of encryption, both in the business environment – where these will be centrally managed – and in the consumer world alike.  With the IT industry witnessing a fundamental shift in computing platforms and electronic devices, users are beginning to prioritise performance, speed and security against the storage capacity.

As the largest independent manufacturer of memory products, Kingston is ready to facilitate this important transition.



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