It’s hard to look at a technology, IT or even marketing publication these days without seeing the latest research study or article on the decline or even the end of the PC era.
“PC sales see a sharp decline worldwide” (Washington Post)
“PC market suffers worst decline ever” (MacRumors)
“PC sales go into a tailspin” (Wall Street Journal)
“PC market saw its biggest drop yet in 2013 with 10 percent decline” (The Inquirer)
“Worldwide PC shipments declined 6.9 percent in Q4 2013” (Gartner)
“Intel to reduce global workforce by 5% amid PC sales decline” (Financial Post)
“PC shipments post the steepest decline ever in a single quarter” (IDC>
Wow! Even in today’s 24×7 sensational news environment, these headlines scream “the PC is dead!” At least to the casual or uninformed observer.
There is no question — this is not the PC’s heyday. The cool and popular holiday gift in 2013 was a tablet or smart phone. People around the world are accessing the internet via their ever-growing number of mobile devices more than by a PC. And just as there is no dearth of articles on the PC market crashing, there are even more articles, posts and studies about people spending more and more time on their mobile devices and those devices being their primary method of acquiring information and interacting with friends and peers. Still, it’s not until 2015 that annual tablet shipments will top PC shipments, according to IDC.
None of this is really shocking. But for casual observers, one might think the only place you’ll find a PC soon is in a history museum.
It’s all about perspective.
HDD Market Better Than You Think, Especially in the Enterprise
With over 315 million units shipped in 2013, the PC market is still massive. Microsoft continues to struggle with new Windows versions, but with that size market, it’s not going to vanish. The PC market was expected to take a pretty big hit in 2013, which it did, but it is also expected to contract less in 2014, and then stabilize.
When you look at the HDD (hard drive) market, there were actually some segments that showed an increase in 2013 over 2012. Desktop sales of HDDs increased in the fourth quarter, to 53 million units, according to Trendfocus. While there continues to be some shift to SSDs, enterprise HDD sales stabilized at 17 million units in Q4.
That’s a lot of hard drives storing a lot of precious data!
NTFS Will Keep Causing Performance Problems Well into the Future
Which is why software like PerfectDisk continues to be important, and even critical, for those using PCs, laptops and servers. It could be argued that even more data than ever is being accessed and stored on hard drives today, given the significantly larger drives. So while you may be using your phone or tablet a lot more than ever — and even more than your PC — the data you have on it is no less precious than before. And when you are using your PC, you want fast access. And the issues (i.e. problems) with the Windows NTFS file system have not gone away. NTFS still fragments and faster access is achieved through defragmented files and consolidated free space.
Even with the evolution of the PC, the fragmentation problem persists in the server and virtualization worlds. These enterprise hard drives need to be optimized for their best performance:
- SSDs, more prevalent than ever, don’t need to be defragmented — and should not be — but special optimization techniques for them, such as PerfectDisk provides, will extend their life and improve write performance.
- Virtualization seems to be everywhere, and since fragmentation is the leading contributor to disk latency and I/O contention in these environments, defragmentation is important and beneficial.
- With larger drives, backup times often extend beyond their allotted timeframe. Defragmentation can shorten backup time by up to 40% (and, in some cases, even more).
Productivity never goes out of style, so as long as the industry is pouring millions of Windows operating systems with hard drives and SSDs into the market, defragmentation and optimization remain critical for the best performance and availability of your drives.
How are you finding the increase in mobile devices affecting your use of PCs and servers?