As more and more users store their data on the Internet, does the need for local hard drives diminish? Fortunately for hard drive makers, the answer is a definite maybe, a panel of analysts said Sunday.

At the Storage Visions conference prior to CES, analysts said that PCs and consumer devices will still have need for “hot,” frequently-used data. Less important data will be stored on the Web and accessible via cloud storage. But others argued that the trend to offer terabytes of cloud storage for next to nothing indicates that local hard drives and SSDs are on their way out.

To hard drive makers, the distinction is somewhat academic: Vendors like Western Digital and Seagate sell hard drives for servers and consumers alike. But for PC vendors and device makers, storage needs to be factored into their cost of their devices, and passed along as a price consumers eventually pay.

Low-cost two-in-ones and tablets debuting this week from E-FUN and others at the Consumer Electronics Show here trade cloud storage for just a handful of gigabytes of local storage—64 GB or so. The implication is that consumers will replace a secondary “data drive” with cloud services like Microsoft’s OneDrive.

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