Western Digital’s top 5 technology and data trends of 2023

Trend No. 1: Sustainability as a driver of innovation

The amounts of data and the use of modern technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) are growing. A phenomenon that leads to an increase in power consumption in data centers. In a recent study, the German industry consortium Bitkom states that it expects this demand to increase by 3.5 to 5% annually up to 2030. For Western Digital, sustainability and technology go hand in hand and have become key drivers of innovation. Storage solutions are a key variable for energy consumption in data centers. Modern technologies that are economical both in terms of electricity consumption and costs are therefore in high demand. An example of this is helium-based hard drives.

Helium is an internal gas hermetically sealed within the hard drive case instead of air, which is seven times denser. This amplification helps reduce the flux effects that occur as the platters rotate in the enclosure, as well as the amount of energy required for this operation. This allows more and thinner discs to fit in the case, resulting in a more capacity solution for the same format. Helium-based hard drives have other advantages: they are less prone to overheating than air-filled hard drives and therefore require less ventilation in data centers. This reduces power consumption and improves hard drive reliability.

Trend #2: The Metaverse and the Digital Twin

The Metaverse creates a bridge between the real and the virtual world. Therefore, this year it should meet another flagship technology, namely the digital twin, which can be used to create digital models of physical or logical objects, ranging from simple resources and products to complex environments such as electrical networks, warehouses or factories .

Thanks to the data collected by the sensors of connected objects (IoT), it becomes possible to create even more realistic digital twins, for example for a factory. For example, companies can immerse themselves in this environment with virtual reality (VR) headsets. Which facilitates knowledge and gains a deeper knowledge of the manufacturing processes without having to physically access them. In this way, the development or design of products in particular can be improved.

Trend #3: Long-term archiving of data

In view of the continuing growth in the amount of data generated, cold storage is becoming increasingly important. This is the long-term archiving of data that is not used as soon as it arises and is only processed when required. This includes unstructured information such as CCTV recordings and data or images from sensors, which have immense potential for future applications around AI or analytics. Cold storage is an inexpensive and increasingly popular approach to storing data. By 2025, almost 80% of digital data could be stored in archives.

Trend #4: DNA storage

In order to be able to archive digital data for periods of more than 100 years, new solutions and innovations are required. Storage on DNA, more precisely on the molecular structure of DNA, is particularly promising. While it may sound like science fiction, implementing this technology is entirely possible today and could even revolutionize the future of data storage. Using DNA molecules to transport data has great advantages: very high storage density and low maintenance costs. Currently still in the development phase, major advances in genetic engineering and sequencing in recent years, as well as the decrease in DNA synthesis costs, could quickly accelerate the market introduction of DNA memories.

Trend #5: An intelligent storage strategy

Data storage has become a critical challenge for businesses, in part due to the irreversible explosion in volumes being generated. Technologies such as IoT, 5G and AI are also established in the market and generate data in data centers, network edges and end devices, for video surveillance in smart cities, in retail or for crime prevention. Due to the diversity of the areas of application, the storage requirements are very different. The formats also differ significantly, depending on whether it is a surveillance camera, a drone or a factory robot. Therefore, to be successful, organizations need to adopt a wiser strategy by aligning their data storage architecture with their future needs.

Businesses need to be ready for 2023

Regardless of how fast these trends advance in the coming year, the most important business action is to adapt the existing data infrastructure for the requirements of tomorrow. The idea is to become a data-driven organization that will reach its full potential. On the eve of 2023, companies, whatever their specialty, must put data at the heart of their strategy and operations.

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