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Looking forward: Data storage experts at Western Digital give 2022 predictions

Highlighted below are predictions anticipating trends in 2022 by Data storage industry leader, Western Digital.



Western Digital 2022 Data storage predictions
Western Digital Corp.

2021 brought with it new challenges and industries were forced to adapt to a new way of life. In 2022, individuals and businesses will need to draw on the resilience and flexibility built up over the past couple of years, as we start the year with a new wave of challenges.

Highlighted below are predictions anticipating trends in 2022 by Data storage industry leader, Western Digital.

Archival data will be the largest growing storage class in 2022

Living in a global pandemic quickly encouraged the adoption of “hybrid working”. This has brought up a new challenge for enterprises: with employees operating from multiple different locations, critical and confidential data can no longer be stored on-premises in one site.

memory card for gamers

Image Credit: Western Digital

For data to be accessed and protected at these various locations, enterprises must deploy local, external and cloud back-ups, and archival solutions.

Archival data (also known as ‘cold’ storage) is stored in lower cost, infrequently accessed tiers that archive information until it is needed, for example in the event of a failure or cyber-attack.

As the world generates and stores more archival data than ever before, with use cases such as genomics or video footage, cold storage will become the go to for data which must be protected but doesn’t need to be accessed within milliseconds.

As enterprises start to run back-ups two or three times in various locations, the amount of storage in data centres will further build up and require a serious look at the way organisations archive their data.

The prominence of archival data also tackles the ever-present issue of ransomware attacks and prevents them from becoming far less impactful if you can access backups of stolen or corrupted information.

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The same principle applies in the cases of floods, hurricanes and other extreme weather incidents that are occurring with higher frequency worldwide. This data, which isn’t needed actively, can be stored in pools of cooler storage at a lower cost.

Most cold storage has been contained on either tape or hard disk drives (HDDs). While tape storage is less expensive than HDDs, it also has a higher data access latency, making it an option for very cold storage. HDDs are evolving to next-gen disk technologies and platforms to improve both the total cost of ownership and accessibility of active archive solutions. These include zoning, higher areal densities, mechanical innovations, and new material innovations.

New data sovereignty concerns

The acceleration of digital transformation across all spheres, prompted by the pandemic, has nudged data sovereignty back into the forefront of businesses’ minds.


According to McKinsey, the pandemic sped up the adoption of digital technologies by several years, for enterprises and public bodies alike, from educational institutions to healthcare.

Keeping regional control of the data generated by these digital technologies will be a critical priority for organisations.

As digital transformation matures, IT leaders will be tasked with ensuring data is stored and protected compliantly.

In 2022, we will see organisations undergoing a storage revolution to meet data protection demands.

Medical data is critical and often large meaning that in the coming year, healthcare institutions will be forced to invest in reliable storage architectures or risk compromising data protection standards. 

The future of gaming could be in the cloud

In 2021, we have seen the burgeoning shift of gaming from device locations to the cloud. TV and film streaming services have set new expectations for gaming as well. Netflix has even entered the cloud gaming market, launching Netflix Games in late 2021 across all mobile devices.


Gamer work space concept – top view a gaming gear, mouse, keyboard, joystick, headset, mobile joystick, in ear headphone and mouse pad on black table background.

The data centre plays a key role, both in terms of enabling online gaming and storing the live-streaming game-play content.

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The shift to cloud gaming looks only to accelerate, and companies such as Xbox and Netflix, will be forced to virtualise data centres to remain profitable in this new gaming climate.

Within the gaming field, the coming year will start to see the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

EA has even publicly stated that NFTs are part of the future of the games industry. These tokens are unique data units stored on blockchains, which prove that products are genuine and allow gamers to commercialise personalised downloadable content, from weapons to cheat codes to packs.

NFTs are based on a distributed storage architecture, allowing ownership to be validated and exchanged.


As enterprises and individuals investigate the potential of NFTs, storage requirements are going to have to equally be considered.

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