Data Storage Technology Development

Tom has over 37 years of experience in data storage engineering and management, ranging from floppy and tape drives to hard disk drives, solid state drives and storage systems. He has 6 US patents granted on heads and media design. He was responsible for developing and integrating heads and media for several disk drive programs at Seagate, Maxtor, Micropolis, and SyQuest. This work involved debugging and problem solving, including spending a considerable amount of time interacting with vendors and fixing manufacturing issues in Asia (Singapore and Thailand). He also has considerable experience in materials science and physical vapor deposition technology, as well as troubleshooting and failure analysis. Tom has been involved with standards activities at IEEE, IDEMA and SNIA.  Tom keeps up with the latest developments in digital storage and applications.

Project and Corporate Management

Tom was Vice President of New Product Integration at Nashua Computer Products, responsible for disk product design and customer qualification. He led good-sized groups developing new disks (keepered media) and disk substrate (glass-ceramic disk substrates) technologies at Ampex and Raychem respectively. Tom helped get ATA-based nearline storage established during a consulting engagement with Network Appliance.  His work included management of domestic and Asian groups, both development and support organizations. In the course of his work he has given numerous presentations to customer and trade groups, including several presentations at the Heads and Media Technology Review, Storage Visions, Creative Storage Conference, Network Storage Conference, IDEMA Diskcon, IIST Symposia and SNIA Conferences.

Conference Organizer

Tom is the organizer of the annual Storage Visions Conference as well as the Creative Storage Conference.  He is also the founder of these conferences.  The Storage Visions Conference has been ongoing for 17 years and the Creative Storage Conference is in its 11th year.  For 10 years he has been General Conference Chair for the Flash Memory Summit.  Tom has led groups of volunteers and staff in organizing highly successful conferences.

Market and Technology Forecasting

Tom has written and co-written technology analysis and forecasting reports under Coughlin Associates as well as with Peripheral Research and Peripheral Concepts Corporations, including:

  •  Annual Capital Equipment and Technology Report for the Hard Disk Drive Industry
  •  Annual Media and Entertainment Storage Report
  •  Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics Report
  •  Survey on Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics
  •  Survey on Digital Storage in Media and Entertainment
  •  Storage Systems User Survey Reports
  •  Reports on Backup and Archiving and Business Continuance and Disaster Recovery
  •  Computer Peripheral Test/Process Equipment Report
  • New Applications for Data Storage-A Market and Technology Report
  • Storage Area Networks Report
  • Articles written for magazines and journals such as InfoStor, Computer Technology Review, Data Storage Magazine, Post Magazine and many others.
  • Blogs for since 2011 as well as,,, and others
  • Background Material provided to Scientific American, Time, Doctor Dobbs Journal, UPI and other publications.
  • Presentations  on Storage Topics at Pennwell Head/Medium Conference, IDEMA Diskcon and other events, NAB, IEEE Consumer Society ISCE and ICCE, SMPTE Technical Conferences,  iNSIC, APEX, SNIA and many other events.
  • Presentations on Storage Markets and Technology at Storage Visions 2002 through 2017 and at the Creative Storage Conference in 2007 through 2017 and at the Japanese Storage Visions conference in 2002 & 2003.

Technical Writing

Tom has over numerous published papers and articles on data storage technology, including articles in Data Storage Magazine, IDEMA Insight, InfoStor, Post, papers in Journal of Applied Physics, IEEE Magnetics Transactions, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials and the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology. Tom has written numerous white papers for companies on storage trends and requirements.

Following are articles in published books by Tom Coughlin:

  • Digital Image Storage and Compression, Tom Coughlin, The Handbook of Visual Display Technology, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2012
  • Digital Archiving in the Entertainment and Professional Media MarketThomas M. Coughlin, in The Economics of Information, Communication and Entertainment, Volume 1, Television Goes Digital, Springer, New York, 2009.
  • Storage in Mobile Consumer Electronics Devices, Thomas M. Coughlin, in Portable Electronics:  World Class Designs, Newnes, 2009.
  • Magnetic Tape Equipment, Thomas M. Coughlin and David Davies,  The Wiley Encyclopedia of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, 1999 and 2006.

Tom’s book, Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics was published by a division of Elsevier in March 2008 and a second edition is in preparation.

Thomas M. Coughlin Bibliography

Educational Technology Classes

Tom has given talks and prepared a series of classes on magnetic recording technology as well as storage systems for Santa Clara University.  Tom has been a voluntary professor at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo.

Intellectual Property and Start-up Analysis

Tom has analyzed data storage patents portfolios for several clients as well as assisted potential investors in analyzing start-up opportunities in data storage, including network storage companies.  He has also helped investors with technical evaluation of companies in bankrupcy.

Expert Witness

Tom has several experiences providing expert witness services to clients on data storage related topics.