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Some Things Keep Going Around, Seagate Ships 2 Billion HDDs

Why the continued growth?

Seagate (@Seagate) announced today that it reached a milestone of having shipped 2 billion hard disk drives (HDDs), something that is round stores data that keeps growing. As part of their announcement, Seagate has a good info graphics and facts page here going back to 1979 when it was founded as Shugart Technology (read about Al Shugart here).

By coincidence, just a few years before Seagate was founded, McDonalds (who makes round things as well) announced that they had served over 20 billion hamburgers. Thus McDonald feeds the appetites of consumers hungry for a quick meal while Seagate feeds the information demands, perhaps while stopping for a quick breakfast, lunch, coffee or dinner. Speaking of things that go around (like HDDs), check out what NAS, NASA and NASCAR have in common all of which are also involved in big data as well as little data.

Storage I/O industry trends image

Both Seagate and McDonalds have also expanded their menu of offerings over the years maintaining their core products while expanding into new and adjacent areas given different appetites and preferences. After all, in the data cloud, virtual or physical data center also known as an information factory not everything is the same either.

Storage I/O image of cloud virtual and big data

Granted Seagate is helping to feed or fuel the internet along with traditional hungry demand for data, not to mention people and data are living longer, as well as getting larger.

Cloud, virtual server, big data and little data storage I/O image


In the case of Seagate and other driver manufactures of which have consolidated down to three (Toshiba, Seagate and Western Digital), the physical devices are getting smaller, however capacities are increasing.

Storage I/O industry trends image

Why the continued growth? As mentioned data is getting larger (big data and little data) and living longer, there is also no such thing as a data or information recession. Consequently data storage is an important pillar or part of cloud, virtual and traditional information services with HDD's remaining popular along side nand flash solid state devices (SSD).

The Seagate info graphic page can be seen here and is a good walk back in time for some, perhaps a history lesson for others. It goes back to the Sony Walkman which some might remember, launch of the PC and Apple Macintosh in the 80s, Linux and the web in the 90s and moving forward from then to now.

Image of hard disk drives HDDs via storage I/o
A few of my HDD's, different types for various tasks.

If you think or believe HDD's are a dead technology, take a few minutes to view the info graphic to update your insight on what has been an important aspect of computing and remains popular in cloud environments. Otoh, if you believe that HDD's are still a core piece of computing and will remain so including in roles in the future, have a look to see how things have progressed, maybe some Dejavu.

Oh, for those who are thinking that the HDD did not begin in 1979, you are absolutely correct as it dates back into the 1950s. Here is a link to something that I wrote a few years ago on the HDD's 50th birthday and looks like it will easily celebrate 60 and beyond.

Additional related reading:
Seagate to say goodbye to Cayman Islands, Hello Ireland
More Storage IO momentus HHDD and SSD moments part II
Tape is still alive, or at least in conversations and discussions
In the data center or information factory, not everything is the same
Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) for virtual and physical environments

(part I, part II and part III)
Self Encrypting Disks (SEDs)
As the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) continues to spin
Happy 50th, hard drive. But will you make it to 60?
Seagate to say goodbye to Cayman Islands, Hello Ireland
More Storage IO momentus HHDD and SSD moments part II
Tape is still alive, or at least in conversations and discussions
In the data center or information factory, not everything is the same
The Human Face of Big Data, a Book Review

Congratulations to Seagate, now how long until the 3 billion served, excuse me, shipped HDD occurs?

Disclosure: Its been almost a month since my last visit to McDonalds or buying another HDD (or SSD) from

Ok, nuff said

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz - Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press, 2011), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press, 2009), and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier, 2004)

twitter @storageio

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More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

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