Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, Seagate (STX), Toshiba and Western Digital (WDC) have formed a new trade association to promote what they all have in common—hard disk drives (HDDs)—and the role they believe the technology will play in Big Data, social media, mobility and cloud computing.

The new organization, called the Storage Products Association (SPA), aims to educate storage customers, channel partners and users to understand, deploy and support their current and future storage needs, particularly the role HDDs and solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs) play in an effective storage mix both in consumer and business settings.

The SPA also will conduct market research and stage storage-related events, and publish material about end users’ storage needs and effective storage usage using a mix of technologies. The founders are the only members right now but the organization expects others to come on board sometime in Q4 of this year, officials said. Membership is open to enterprises, businesses, customers and channel partners.

“We have seen the demand for storage products shift dramatically over the last 10 years with the emergence of cloud computing, Internet search, social networks, Big Data and mobile computing,” said Mark Grace, HGST Marketing senior vice president and SPA board member.

“This period of remarkable change is driving the need for innovative and reliable high-performance and high-capacity storage with the best TCO, especially in the areas of hyperscale cloud datacentre infrastructures and cold storage environments,” he said. “As storage companies, SPA members are at the forefront of this change, focused on evolving products to support changing market needs.”

In addition to Grace, board members include Western Digital president Timothy Leyden, Toshiba Marketing vice president Joel Hagberg and Seagate Worldwide Sales executive vice president D. Kurt Richarz.

While an existing association, the International Disk Drive Equipment and Materials Association (IDEMA), focuses on the manufacturing and equipment side of the storage industry, the SPA’s goal is to build awareness and foster education on storage’s role as technology evolves, officials said.