Thunderbolt (nee Light Peak) from Apple and Intel already ships on newer Macs and a relatively few cutting-edge PC motherboards. It's basically an external version of PCI Express with a whopping 10Gbps transfer rate. For high-performance backup and external storage--particularly when there's an array of drives in play--Thunderbolt should eventually supplant the slower eSATA and USB 3.0. However, USB will certainly remain as a peripheral and flash drive bus.
SATA Express (SATA 3.2)--an internal storage bus that uses the SATA software and protocol layer over the physical PCIe bus and connectors--is also on the horizon. Intended for internal SSDs, it supports current legacy and SATA/AHCI, as well as an NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) mode. NVMe is an interface spec designed for SSDs. Theoretically, SATA Express's throughput is limited only by the bandwidth of the PCIe bus. With PCIe 2.0 that's 5 gigatransfers per second, and with the PCIe 3.0 found on newer Intel chipsets, that's 8 gigatransfers.
Next Up: Cloud storage: Let it rain
Cloud storage: Let it rain
Today about 7% of personal data is stored in the cloud, according to Gartner, a market research firm. But by 2016 the amount of personal data stored in the clouds will jump to 36%. Gartner says trends in mobility are driving the growth of "personal clouds." The rise of camera-equipped phones and tablets that automatically upload video and pictures to the cloud will create a "direct-to-cloud model, allowing users to directly store user-generated content in the cloud," Shalini Verma, principal research analyst at Gartner, wrote in a 2012 report.
Terri McClure, analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group, says the more mobile gear we have, the more we'll want push data to the cloud so we can later access documents, video, and music from anywhere.
On the back end, the rise in the number of big cloud storage services such as Amazon S3, Nimbus.io, and Nirvanix is enabling smaller consumer cloud services to flourish online. For example, Amazon S3 has become a turnkey service for customers like Dropbox. It just passed its 100 millionth registered user milestone and says one billion files are stored per day on Dropbox.