Seagate boasts that it has shipped a billion drives in just four years after taking nearly three decades to build its previous billion.
The company shipped its first billionth disk in 2008; its inaugural product, the 5MB ST-506, hit the market in 1980. Now Seagate's factories - busy spewing drives to a world enthusiastically hoarding pictures, music, films, email, documents, source code, databases, x-ray images and more - have assembled 1,000,000,000 more drives in just four years, from 2011 to March 12, 2013.
That's 684,462 drives a day, 28,519 an hour, 475 a minute, or eight drives every second, according to Seagate. As you read that sentence eight more drives were built. And another eight. In El Reg's opinion, that's a phenomenal rate, if the numbers stand up.
Seagate's top dog, Steve Luczo has gone all misty eyed over this. The president, CEO and chairman says:
"This achievement is a testament to the commitment of our employees whose relentless dedication and personal pride continue to be the fabric of this company.”
This production rate may well increase. John Rydning, a research veep at market watcher IDC, comments:
“Mobile devices and the cloud are coming together to drive ongoing demand for hard disk drives, with shipments reaching more than 585 million units in 2013, and hard disk drive Terabyte shipments worldwide growing at a 30 per cent 2012-2016 compound annual growth rate*.”
How Seagate drives used to look: the ST-412
Using flash chips to store data, rather than spinning magnetic media, is growing in popularity - but flash shipments into markets served by disk are dwarfed by sales of their rotating rivals: and will be until the solid-state industry bites the bullet and gets more fabs operating. Those production costs are enormous and we could well envisage Seagate reaching the three-billion drive mark by March 2017, if not sooner. ®
* Source: IDC Worldwide Hard Disk Drive 2012–2016 Forecast Update, (IDC #237304, October 2012)