Hard drive shortages could affect the Internet itself

We've been reporting for the past few weeks that the massive flooding that the people of Thailand are experiencing is also interfering with the production of PC hard drives. Many companies have shut down their hard drive production facilities and it doesn't look like they will be back up and running for some time. As a result, shortages of hard drives are becoming commonplace and prices of the ones that are available have skyrocketed in the last few weeks.

Now a new report in the New York Times speculates that the shortages could pose a severe threat to the entire infrastructure of the Internet itself. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon and others depend on large data centers to handle cloud computing services and other tasks. Those data centers depend on hard drives to run their servers and store the massive amounts of data uploaded by users every day.  Demand for cloud computing services continues to grow but the recent hard drive shortages could prevent some companies from scaling their services as required.

John Monroe, a research vice president at the research firm Gartner, claims that if a company like Facebook cannot get enough hard drives for its data centers, it could affect their user base as a whole. He states, "You really can’t grow and expand the Internet without the expansion of storage hard drives. There are an awful a lot of ramifying impacts that are being incompletely considered here."

At the moment, current estimates are that for the next two quarters, 50 million less PC hard drives units will be shipped worldwide, although Monroe claims that all hard drive inventories could be "sucked dry" by the first quarter of 2012.  If true, it could pose some very serious problems for the tech industry, and for the world's economy in general.

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HDDs are the gold of 2011.
They only go up.

Invest now, they will go up even more when companies will desperately strive to obtain more storage leaving the costumer market with a HUGE drop in stock until stocks might clear totally quite soon.

If you have spare money, invest in HDDs now, they will rise again - more and more. *

GS:mac

*I take no legal liability for your actions that you base on my estimations.
(I'll rather have a disclaimer here than be sorry )

I can't believe the prices in the UK its gone mental!! Cheapest 500GB HD on Ebuyer is £100!!! Thats soooo crazy.. and I was just looking to buy a some new ones. :-(

I get a feeling all the companies named above already have storage for months worth of expected growth installed in their data-centers and have quite a few in storage for replacements, and if this shortage lasts long enough that the prices haven't come down before they really have to add more storage, I think they can afford it...

ahhell said,
More research company speculation making the front page. Yea.
Much like your post? There is flooding occuring in Tailand, and if you journey to some of these hard drive manufacturer's websites, they actually state on their site that production is halted.

Plenty of good deals on HDs right now, saw plenty of deals on amazon and Fry's Electronic.

Just bought a Seagate usb 3.0 2tb Hard drive from amazon for $99.99.

carson2255 said,
Plenty of good deals on HDs right now, saw plenty of deals on amazon and Fry's Electronic.

Just bought a Seagate usb 3.0 2tb Hard drive from amazon for $99.99.


Seagatess are never a good deal

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

Seagatess are never a good deal

GS:mac

I have never had a problem with Seagate, I've had TONS of trouble with Samsung hard drives.....

neufuse said,

I have never had a problem with Seagate, I've had TONS of trouble with Samsung hard drives.....


Western Digital is where it's at for me.
My Seagates weren't the best runners around, only ONE WD died on me, and it died gracefully so I could still recover all the data. (4 years of heavy use)
I know I was lucky that it died gracefully (clicking death), but heck, I trust Westy and they are here to stay for me.

If Seagates worked well for you, good for you!
In the end all that matters is that it works, however, statistics tell, that I'm walking a safer path.

GS:mac

SSD might bet a big boost here. If the prices of HDD continues to rise even more or there would be some kind of shortage, people might start looking at SSDs. Now SSDs manufactures would get a lot more requests for their drives and would probably start lowering the price, but not that high comparing to HDD. Still, SSD ftw.

david13lt said,
Now SSDs manufactures would get a lot more requests for their drives and would probably start lowering the price

More demand = price increase, not price drop. However if the demand is followed by even more supply, prices may drop.

I'm surprised SSD prices haven't decreased yet to capitalise on this opportunity. Admittedly, they'd have to decrease by a hell of a lot to compete, but it's still an opportunity.

MightyJordan said,
I'm surprised SSD prices haven't decreased yet to capitalise on this opportunity. Admittedly, they'd have to decrease by a hell of a lot to compete, but it's still an opportunity.

I'm building a couple of (cheap) PC's for a family member's kids and it actually made sense to go the SSD route. I could get an 80GB HDD for about £50, then it'd be £80 for 250Gb or £100 for 500Gb. OR I could get an 80Gb SSD for about £70. That'd be enough space for them and when HDD prices drop down the line, they can upgrade then.
Now really is the time to go SSD.

Kushan said,

I'm building a couple of (cheap) PC's for a family member's kids and it actually made sense to go the SSD route. I could get an 80GB HDD for about £50, then it'd be £80 for 250Gb or £100 for 500Gb. OR I could get an 80Gb SSD for about £70. That'd be enough space for them and when HDD prices drop down the line, they can upgrade then.
Now really is the time to go SSD.

You can't even buy 80GB HDDs, and any you do find won't be anywhere near £50. SSDs are not at all comparable if you just want to store things cheaply. They're for people who want a fast computer. Either you don't have mass storage with an SSD, or you have an SSD and a hard drive.

Although I knew a lot of tech companies like to manufacture in this poor counties for what is akin to slave labor, but to place almost all their harddisk manufactoring plants in the same location? is that just greed, an oversight or what?

sagum said,
Although I knew a lot of tech companies like to manufacture in this poor counties for what is akin to slave labor, but to place almost all their harddisk manufactoring plants in the same location? is that just greed, an oversight or what?

Yea, that's greed for you, sometimes it sure seem like the put some of the most stupid people at the top doesn't it?

How stupid do you have to be to rely on ONE manufacturer by up to 80% in a region where floodings are possible. I mean, I wouldn't even rely on ONE manufacturer if it was in a earthquake+flooding+tornado+... safe area.
It just screams for "when".

I really hope we get our act together to push SSDs big time, quite a chance here...
And by pushing I mean: HEAVY WEIGHT PUSHING.

I'd adore affordable 512GB SSDs (to begin with).

I really must order that external drive for my fiancé asap, will ask her for her needs this evening and order right away.
Prices are still -okay- here in Germany.

GS:mac

What... so the entire world relies on 1 country to provide every hard drive? No, other factories will have to start working harder, or new factories open.

Detection said,
What... so the entire world relies on 1 country to provide every hard drive? No, other factories will have to start working harder, or new factories open.

Exactly my thought. how can they make world dependable on one country?

ilovetech said,

Exactly my thought. how can they make world dependable on one country?

Outsourcing. Developed countries could take advantage of bringing manufacturing back home right now and both bring prices back down (to an extent) and help rebuild our respective economies!

Detection said,
What... so the entire world relies on 1 country to provide every hard drive? No, other factories will have to start working harder, or new factories open.

It's fairly common really. Like how Japan was the only place to go for black auto paint. It's really not uncommon at all. And factories in other parts of the world would never be able to retool quick enough to get hard drives on the market fast enough to take advantage of this shortage. They'll probably be putting these factories back in operation before new factories would be ready.

Majesticmerc said,
Outsourcing. Developed countries could take advantage of bringing manufacturing back home right now and both bring prices back down (to an extent) and help rebuild our respective economies!

Prices would stay high to pay for increased wages and benefits demanded by employees in developed countries.

what if the production of the hard drives completly halts for some time...

I want to see what Siri can say for this... lol

nitins60 said,
what if the production of the hard drives completly halts for some time...

I want to see what Siri can say for this... lol

Siri Voice - "Looks like you are in for a ride, Solid State Disks are just around the corner, would you like directions?"

I forgot about this when I went to order a HDD the other day. Was shocked at the price, and ended up not getting one. Hopefully this clears up soon :-(.

Zappa859 said,
I forgot about this when I went to order a HDD the other day. Was shocked at the price, and ended up not getting one. Hopefully this clears up soon :-(.

Same here last month a 1TB drive could be brought for around £40, now I'm seeing the same harddisks at £125 crazy prices and they're still set to rise in price. I'm kicking myself now for not grabbing 4x 1TB drives last month.

sagum said,

Same here last month a 1TB drive could be brought for around £40, now I'm seeing the same harddisks at £125 crazy prices and they're still set to rise in price. I'm kicking myself now for not grabbing 4x 1TB drives last month.

same here dude
my 500gb hdd malfunctioned and i went to the store to get a 1 TB hdd. at the time there were no 1 TB hdds only had 2 tbs so i wait . now 1 tbs like $140 im stuck with my other 1 tb HDD and i only have 10 gb free space

Zappa859 said,
I forgot about this when I went to order a HDD the other day. Was shocked at the price, and ended up not getting one. Hopefully this clears up soon :-(.

Same here... prices are about 5x what they were a few weeks ago.

Zappa859 said,
I forgot about this when I went to order a HDD the other day. Was shocked at the price, and ended up not getting one. Hopefully this clears up soon :-(.

I give it about 6 months for the prices to return back to their low cost before the flooding