I evaluated storage prices in July 2009 and June 2012. This is a good chance to check how prices have changed.
What's the actual retail price for 10TB of storage?
July 2009: Platter = $750, Flash = $28,125
June 2012: Platter = $567, Flash = $8,200
November 2013: Platter = $450, Flash = $5,417
Based on the trends from 16 months ago, I would have expected the platter price for 10TB to be $495, and the flash price to be $4,506. Traditional drives beat my predictions, which seems to show that the industry has fully recovered from the various production and reliability issues which plagued the 3TB generation of drives. The pace of improvement for flash drives has slowed, but it's still jaw-droppingly quick. Will this pace continue to slow as the technical challenges become more complex?
New Prediction for July 2014: Platter = $416, Flash = $4,204
New Prediction for July 2015: Platter = $370, Flash = $2,875
New Prediction for July 2019: Platter = $231, Flash = $629
New Prediction for July 2024: Platter = $128, Flash = $94
This is all good news for the hard drive industry, and bad news for those of us hoping to stop relying on rapidly spinning disks. The predicted date when the technologies reach price equivalence is pushed back to May 2023, from the previous prediction of August 2020. If the pace of flash memory development continues to slow, and hard drives get a boost from helium technology, this date will drift even further out of reach. I don't want to imagine that hard drives could still have a meaningful role into the 2030's, but it's conceivable.
To end on a happier note for flash storage, consider that the price ratio for flash storage vs. platter storage was 37.5x in July 2009. After a little more than 4 years, the ratio is down to 12x! That's unbelievable progress, especially considering that flash technology is chasing a fast-moving target.