What will be the data storage method of the future

Please correct my errors, but we have gone from:

1) Holes in paper: Player piano.
2) Holes in metal disc; Old phonograph.
3) Vinyl
4) Tapes: 8 track and then cassette.
5) CD
6) Hard drive.
7) compact flash card.
8) USB flash drives.
9) SD cards.

I'm still waiting for things to settle down before even deciding what to invest as my future storage media device. Seems like the industry can't decide either as there are many variations in playback machines. Very few are audiophile quality either (IMHO / IME).

Funny how this hasn't piqued the interest like HDCD, XRCD, DVD-Audio and SACD battles did.
Cloud computing
Cloud computing is correct. You should spend your time beefing up your wired and wireless network capability and knowledge.

All of your software needs will be met instantly by accessing it with your I.D and a password. The only thing you will need on your end is the hardware.

If you want to store your personal data/music/photos/medical and financial currently it looks as if Solid State Drives (SSD) will soon replace common IDE/SATA Drives as the preferred method of local storage. (prices are dropping about 30% per quarter).

The next leap will be Quantum Inter-Dimensional Storage. Imagine all of the data that has ever been written, created or archived stored on a platform no larger than a kernel of corn.
Does any body really think it will do away with hard copy books? No way! Think about it another way. They that will control the 'cloud' will control your very ability to 'be'. Frightening, 1984 will be here shortly.
This is frightening, but I actually agree with Buconero117. Cloud computing has many benefits, but you are transferring all ownership and ultimately all control to what are effectively anonymous third parties. Furthermore, when you access the cloud a record of your activity is being generated and stored. While I might trust that Google really isn't interested in exactly what I'm doing, the same cannot be said of various governments. As recent events in the Middle East have highlighted, governments directly control the major internet access pathways in their countries. Imaging if the Syrian or Iranian governments could quickly access what music you've been listening to or books you've read. If you lived in either of those countries would the knowledge that someone could be compiling a list of what you do put a damper on your otherwise private activities?

The written page has worked for centuries as an effective way to store musical compositions.
05-28-11: Tom6897
If you want to store your personal data/music/photos/medical and financial currently it looks as if Solid State Drives (SSD) will soon replace common IDE/SATA Drives as the preferred method of local storage. (prices are dropping about 30% per quarter).
Not sure that is correct. The least expensive SSD of around 1TB capacity currently offered by Newegg.com is $2699, which I believe is down a few hundred dollars in the last several months. About 8 months ago I had purchased a Crucial 128GB sata3 model (not nearly large enough for mass data storage) for about $275. Typical prices at various sellers for comparable models today are around $240.

Re cloud computing, the motivations for it seem to be mainly business-oriented -- the promise of lower costs to business for software and IT services, and the ability to adapt to changing software needs quickly and at lower cost. I don't see any comparable driving forces, or comparable interest, in the consumer space. Which of course does not necessarily mean that it won't ultimately be foisted on the consumer.

In addition to the obvious concerns cloud computing raises about security and privacy, I would add reliability. Not only at the data centers, but with respect to internet connectivity. A few years ago the school system in my town lost connectivity for a considerable period of time because a construction crew accidentally severed their underground lines. If something like that were to happen to a large company that is dependent on the cloud, hundreds or thousands of employees could find themselves twiddling their thumbs for many hours or days.

Time will tell.

-- Al
LP analog and digital files on hard drive streamed to DAC for this audiophile. Everyone else will fall for the promises of the cloud, but not me.
The answer is "solid state storage" Just like a large thumb drive. Much faster then cloud and faster then soon to be out dated hard drives.
Maybe the Rolling Stones had it right years ago:

"Hey, hey, you, you...get off of my cloud".
Not that I'm espousing Scientology in any way, but they needed a method of making sure that L. Ron Hubard's speeches would be playable in 300 years. They chose to buy a cutting lathe and put the speeches on LP!
So does solid state or tubed storage sound better?
Sorry, I couldn't resist
Google scares me almost as much as the government!
What is the diff. between "the cloud" and a return to the main frame model? I know the cloud is internet based. I can see pro and cons both ways with the loss of personal freedom.

I hope, and think, flash drive will become the norm at some point.
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05-30-11: 6550c
What is the diff. between "the cloud" and a return to the main frame model? I know the cloud is internet based. I can see pro and cons both ways with the loss of personal freedom.
Replace the dumb terminal with a browser. With a browser, you have the flexibility in connecting to more servers.
06-01-11: Bob_reynolds
What's the fundamental difference between compact flash, USB flash, SD cards, and solid state drives?
Hi Bob,

While there are a number of fundamental differences between flash memory technologies that have been and are being used (NAND/NOR, SLC/MLC, manufacturing "process" (i.e., the number of nanometers of the smallest feature size), speeds, capacities, etc.), I don't think that there is any specific relation that can be defined between those technological differences and the different formats you listed. It's basically a matter of the different formats having been introduced at different times by different manufacturers, and having achieved differing degrees of market penetration into different applications.
I've not kept up, but what's the average number of writes SSD devices are capable of these days?
100,000 in some cases, 1,000,000 in others. I'm not sure, though, if those figures are for the number of erase/write cycles of an individual block, or for the total number of cycles applied to all blocks.

Differences in approaches to wear leveling, bad block management, and error correction, though, will mean that the same memory chip, rated for a given number of cycles, won't necessarily provide the same or even similar longevity in different devices.

When SSD's were initially introduced, I was skeptical about their ability to withstand the number of erase/write cycles that would occur over time in an operating system drive application, but to this point I haven't seen any indications that it has turned out to be a significant problem. And SSD's are now commonly offered with three year warranties. I'm using one as the os drive in a computer I built about 9 months ago, and I couldn't be happier with it.
For local secondary storage, do we really need the performance benefit of solid state?
Along the lines of my earlier post, SSD's appear in the near term to be cost prohibitive for mass storage applications. When and if that changes, the only advantage I can see is the possibility of greater reliability, and less chance of data loss if data is not backed up as it should be, since there are no mechanical parts to wear out, and in that kind of application SSD's erase/write cycle limitations would presumably be much less relevant than for an os drive.

Best regards,
-- Al
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06-01-11: Bob_reynolds
I've often wondered why cost effective RAID systems haven't become the norm for home PCs. It seems that hard drives are quite reliable these days. I can't recall the last failure I've had at either work or home. And the cost per byte is just plain ridiculous now.
Hi Bob,

Yes, you're certainly right that HDD cost/GB is incredibly low these days. But I'd imagine that the major reason for RAID not becoming the norm for home PC's is the perception by the major manufacturers (rightly or wrongly) that success or failure is determined by whether or not they are able to sell at a lower price than the competition. I recall once reading how eliminating a couple of screws from the design of some of their computers was considered to be a significant accomplishment at Dell.

And perhaps also the fact that the average home user does not know or care about the benefits RAID may offer, or about the need to back up, for that matter. And those who do will (correctly) recognize that RAID does not eliminate the need for a separate backup solution anyway, for anything important, since hardware failure or software issues could conceivably corrupt all of the drives in a RAID mirror simultaneously.

Best regards,
-- Al
Cloud is definitely the future, but it's not in the line of the progression of music storage. For those who already have music in digital format, the cloud storage is a no brainer. Even if the cloud is not the main storage, it will serve as a backup, relieving the users from the very important maintenance item which is backing up the music.

Those who listen to CD will eventually accept the computer based storage, and move to USB or other SSD based medium. Then they will realize the tremendous value of automated backup and convenience of the cloud.

Those who listen to vinyl will continue to use vinyl for the foreseeable future, or until they die. :)
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Cloud storage is probably not going to "take care" of your data as much as you could. However it will make the backups much easier and more reliable than anyone could.