May 15, 2012, 2:46 PM — A survey of 10,000 customers published today by Paragon Software Group highlights two interesting things about hard-drive maintenance developers and their customers.
The first is that utility vendors know hard-drive maintenance sounds much less exciting than security, so they'll pitch HDD maintenance surveys as being about "personal data security" instead.
The second is that even consumers motivated enough to pay $49.95 for software to maintain their hard drives, partitions, backup and migrations don't pay much attention to any of those things.
The third, which Paragon didn't mean to confirm, is that consumers who buy disk-utility software may be doing it not to keep their existing hard drives healthy, but to help them move to a new generation of personal data storage.
According to Paragon's survey of users who recently bought one of its Hard Disk Manager products, two-thirds of consumers don't use any special tools or software to migrate from one hard drive (or PC) to another. Almost a quarter of those who did buy the utility, however, plan to move to a solid-state drive in the near future – a move that could go more smoothly automated by tools such as Paragon's.
Forty percent don't intend to use SSDs at all, which sounds high compared to the 23 percent who plan to do so.
Why are the least geekish users hot for SSDs?
Except that SSDs, which replace storage on hard drives with flash memory that is faster, uses less power and should theoretically have lower failure rates than spinning disks, is still so expensive, so unfamiliar to most users and so expensive compared to disk that even major solid-state memory makers such as SanDisk don't expect consumers to buy any more if it by 2015 than they do now.
NAND flash-drive revenues will grow eight percent this year and six percent next year, mainly through SSD sales to ultrabook and mobile-device makers according to a study by market analyst IHS, Inc.
SSD prices are still far too high – about $1.56 per gigabyte as of January, according to IDC – to attract many consumers, though SSD costs should drop below $1 per gigabyte this year, according to IDC analyst Jeff Janukowicz.