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Data Storage Hardware

Hard Drive Shortage Relief Coming In Q1 2012 205

MojoKid writes "According to new reports [note: source article at DigiTimes], global HDD production capacity is getting ready to increase to 140-145 million units in the first quarter of 2012, or about 80 percent of where it was prior to when the floods hit Thailand manufacturing plants. HDD production was sitting around 175 million units in the third quarter of 2011 before the floods, after which time it quickly dropped to 120-125 million units. Since then, there's been a concerted effort to restore operations to pre-flood levels."
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Hard Drive Shortage Relief Coming In Q1 2012

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  • Market pressures. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by philip.paradis ( 2580427 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:12PM (#39155313)

    It's great that HDD production is about to increase again, but I think the recent "crunch" was also a good thing in a way. Perhaps it encouraged some end users to get more creative with data storage techniques, resulting in more efficient systems that can do more with less bulk storage capacity. At least I can hope so.

  • Relief Already Here (Score:1, Interesting)

    by DakotaSmith ( 937647 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:22PM (#39155365) Homepage
    This is kind of old. I'm a college professor in a computer science department. Our students were affected at the beginning of this term (we offer free external hard drives on which to keep their work). About four weeks in, the supply opened back up. We initially issued 16GB flash drives, and now they all have their 320GB USB drives.
  • Re:Market pressures. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:40PM (#39155473)

    I think it had more of an impact on SSD adoption.

    Before the floods, SSD prices were 10x higher than hard drives, per gigabyte. When the floods hit, hard drive prices nearly doubled, while SSD prices continued to slowly drop. That added up to SSDs being only 4-6x the per-gigabyte price of a hard drive, at least temporarily.

    I've certainly noticed a lot more people buying and using SSDs. I'll probably do so myself at some point, once I have a computer that's primarily disc-latency-bound instead of CPU- or GPU-bound in most tasks.

  • Drive reliability (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 24, 2012 @11:11PM (#39155661)

    Has there been any data published about the reliability of the drives coming off of the assembly line now? When the drive makers reduced their warranties, there was concern that production after the flooding would have a drop in quality. Has this been borne out, or was it unfounded speculation?

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @11:22PM (#39155711) Homepage

    1. Big OEM contracts agreed long in advance takes priority, so everything had to be absorbed by the spot market which is much smaller.
    2. If you don't have a HDD, you practically can't sell a new machine and for many commercial services not buying is not an option.
    3. As smart people in the market realize what was about to happen, they made sure to buy now "just in case" emptying the market.
    4. Even OEMs started to fear the shortage and started buying HDDs in the spot market as insurance.

    Sum of all of the above = it probably took a 300% price hike until sales dropped 25% to match supply. Spot sales probably had to drop 50-80% for that to happen.

  • Re:Market pressures. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @11:23PM (#39155727)
    we had server purchases seriously delayed, in the end we had to go with some more expensive and larger disks just so we could get our desperately needed servers delivered, otherwise it was expected up to a further 3 months of delays.
  • Re:Market pressures. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @11:34PM (#39155779) Journal

    Anyway, how is one supposed to be "efficient" with regards to JPG, MP3, and other highly-compressed file formats?

    Start burning stuff to DVD or putting it on cheap flash drives and hand them out to your friends. It's just like saving stuff to the Cloud, except they appreciate the music and movies and you can drink with them.

    I call it "Sneaker-cloud".

    I am learning more and more that the answer to life's questions often comes down to the people who are around you, physically. Family, friends, neighbors. Internet is good for lots of things, but I'm re-discovering all the value hidden in these non-virtual relationships. Salut!

  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @01:19AM (#39156213)
    Thanks for a great explanation. BTW, this is also exactly why markets are fundamentally unfair and flawed systems. When there is a resource shortage, the richest person can *always* get an item, and the poorest person can *never* get an item. It's just a system of entitlement and privilege based on numbers in a bank account.
  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Saturday February 25, 2012 @01:26AM (#39156247)

    What exactly are you raging about? I was responding to the post and title's implication that everything will soon be 'back to normal' as if nothing had happened.

    I find your idea that 1%ers should "foot the bill" rather absurd.

    Quote, please, the exact portion of my comments where I made that statement? You can't. I never said it. What I clearly implied was that One Percenters don't foot their fair share of the bill.

  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Saturday February 25, 2012 @02:15AM (#39156457)
    There are plenty of alternative ways to allocate resources.

    For example, there's the round robin method. Put 100 people in a queue. The person at the front gets served and must go to the back of the queue afterwards. So the first time there's a shortage, people #1 to #50 get the drives. The second time there's a shortage, people #51 to #100 get the drives.

    Another method is to pick 50 people out of 100 randomly and let them have the available drives. This doesn't require to implement a queue, but has a small chance of overlap in repeated allocations.

    The point here is that fairness requires that all individuals are served equal amounts over their lifetimes, which can't happen in a market as the OP showed.

    If you think about it, this problem also shows up in all modern operating systems. There are limited resources like CPU, memory, disk, etc, and the process scheduler has to decide how much time to give to each running process. How do they do it? They certainly don't use markets. What if they did? You'd have "rich" processes that hog all the CPU time, and you'd have "poor" processes that couldn't get any CPU time at all. It would be a crazy fun Linux kernel patch, though :)

  • Re:Market pressures. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Saturday February 25, 2012 @03:53AM (#39156737) Journal

    Triple the performance is pretty good for cache. I see that too, particularly with the newer SAS RAID controllers with 1GB of flash-backed write cache. A decent modern SATA attached SSD can do something like 70x the IOPs and 20x the bandwidth of a spinning disk though, and also sees additional benefits from RAM caching. The PCIe attached versions can do well over 1000x the IOPs of 15K 6G SAS. No joke, one PCIe attached internal flash drive [] can outperform on I/O even the most optimally configured array with the 1000 of the fastest available spinning disks (which typically would take at least 3 full racks and 25 KW and have a drive failure every week). And the latency is down near 26 microseconds in the worst case, where a cache miss is best-case 2000 microseconds of latency on a spinning disk.

    Solid state: it's just faster. It also costs a bit more, but not offensively so. RAM is getting a lot cheaper these days (about $8/GB for the registered 8GB DIMM) so if you've got a problem set that fits in configurable memory and doesn't require the reliability of static storage during the problem set, RAMDISK is definitely an option again for some. Frankly these RAM prices look crazy cheap to those of us who were praying for the day that RAM dropped below $100/megabyte back in the day. I've paid over $300,000/GB for RAM ($300/MB) - and it was much slower RAM too. Going over the math in my head, apparently I once also paid $2,500,000/TB for HDD storage ($300 for 0.00002 TB) - out of my own pocket as a consumer. That's just crazy.

    The question comes down to what is your time worth? What can you do with storage this fast? Does your data fit on the SSDs? Are there other benefits? Everybody has different needs. The available technology is outpacing our needs by a good bit these days. You now can fit all of Peak Twitter into the storage, network and processing capacity of one off-the-rack server - though of course you would use three and geographically isolate them for HA if you were Twitter. These new technologies enable us to do things we couldn't do before - or alternately they allow us to use software that's so offensively bloated it robs us of all the benefit of technology's advance.

    Subbing an SSD for your laptop or desktop's boot HDD will get boot times down to mere seconds even in Windows. Anyway, I'm rambling. Time to click "submit".

A committee is a group that keeps the minutes and loses hours. -- Milton Berle