Limited supply of hard drives

Category : | Posted : Nov 4, 2011

The IT industry is always full of change and excitement.  Most of the time that’s a good thing.  Sometimes, not so much.

Currently we are looking at the beginning of a global component shortage.  Hard drives are going to be in limited supply over the next bit.  It seems that some of the world’s top manufacturers have been experiencing production issues recently.  As a result, the global supply of hard drives will be cut significantly in the coming months.  The beginnings of this are being felt here already.  Suppliers are starting to restrict hard drive distribution to resellers.  They’re doing this in an effort to help system builders weather the coming storm.  But what does that mean for the rest of us?  What will the impact be?

Prices will rise as availability drops off.  New computers will become more expensive, and delivery times will be lengthened as it becomes harder to get critical components.  If you’re considering a new computer, now’s the time to buy, folks.  If you wait, it’s going to hurt.  Sounds pretty grim, right?  So where is this shortage coming from?

Over the last few months, Thailand has experienced the worst flooding they’ve seen in 50 years.  Thailand is the #2 manufacturer of hard drives, housing major production sites for Western Digital, Seagate, and others.  The flooding there has hobbled or completely shut down several major factories, and the ones that are still open are having trouble getting supplies for subcomponents.  But more importantly, it’s caused over 350 deaths and disrupted the lives of almost 2.5 million people.  The Cabinet of Thailand just declared a 5 day holiday to give people a chance to escape floods closing on their capital.  Thousands of people are being re-relocated (yes, you read that right), and over half a million people have required medical attention so far.  There’s no way to assess the total damage to people and property as yet.  All we know so far is that it’s not going to be pretty.

So while I’m paying more for new hardware over the next few months (and I will, because I’m a junkie for the stuff), I’m going to take a moment and remember Thailand and the people who are more seriously affected than I am.

We’re all connected – here’s wishing for the best, for all of us.


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