Perspective: As a company primarily focused on cloud storage and data backup, Backblaze has managed a lot of hard drives over the years. After counting some numbers, a clear figure is revealed: the cost of a gigabyte is steadily declining, and it will soon reach an unprecedented milestone.
Backblaze maintains records of the majority of hard drives used in its cloud storage business. Since 2009, the San Mateo corporation has purchased 265,332 hard drives and kept a careful record of each one.
How recently revealed by Andy Klein on the company’s official blog in 2009, the average cost per gigabyte was $0.11. Backblaze was spending just $0.03 per gigabyte in 2017 during the first HDD cost review. Today, when they mostly get 16TB hard drives, the cost of storage has dropped to $0.014 per gigabyte.
SSDs based on NAND flash memory may have become a driver of consumer spending and productivity gains, but reliable magnetic disks have not yet gone out of style. Hard drives are still very popular in data centers and enterprise environments as magnetic storage technology is still evolving and the numbers provided by Backblaze show how much more convenient hard drives are (and likely will continue to be) compared to the largest models of solid state drives on the market.
From 2009 to November 2022, the cost of magnetic storage decreased by 87.4% per terabyte. The largest decline was recorded in the past five years, with the cost per gigabyte for all drives down 56.36%. This corresponds to a decrease of 0.52% per month since January 2009.
Manufacturers are finding new ways to fit more platters into the same standard 3.5-inch form factor, figuring out how to increase storage density while lowering power consumption and manufacturing costs.
When will the HDD cheapening race end? For now, Backblaze is offering what the company believes will be the next milestone in this bottomless race: 22TB and 24TB drives are expected to average $0.01 per gigabyte in mid-2025. And this is a stable retail price, not a selling price, the company said.