OWC Comments on the Hard Drive Availability Situation
See also this video showing the flooding in Thailand.
From the OWC “garage sale” email (you can sign up here):
Three weeks ago I thought it was bad and also had worst case scenarios in consideration. Another week and the worst of the worst case didn't line up with what the reality was becoming. It seems like there may be some improvement in drive supply by mid-December, but it's still disastrous and not likely to return to the prior normal for many months and even as long as a year.
In a nut shell... First Western Digital's main production complex in Thailand, one that produces about 60% of WD's output + roughly 18% of the overall world drive supply, was first inaccessible and then literally under water from the flooding. While there are plenty of various drive sub-component manufacturers also impacted by the flooding - the one most critical to the HD industry would be be Nidec. Nidec happens to supply effectively 100% of the drive motors to Hitachi, Seagate, Toshiba, Etc.. in addition to WD. Roughly 90% of the Nidec production was in this same region with multiple facilities either offline due to inaccessibility or under water. Alternate production facilities are being fired back up and/or production increased at those unaffected... but this single source/single geo supplier impact made what was already bad - beyond worst expectations.
This is an industry that is all about back ups... apparently they hardly take their own advice and now we're literally paying the price. Really unbelievable to me, and I wonder if stockholders/boards of these companies will learn from the failure from allowing such. Milk already spilled and cleanup can't even begin until that water recedes.... By no means do I overlook the human tragedy for the people of Thailand in this natural disaster either - but please note that my expertise is on the drive aspect and so commented.
SSDs are a bright spot - a major upgrade vs. a hard drive when it comes to the over all performance they deliver to a system and... Despite increased demand as of late, cost is down from a month ago and pretty stable. Consumers and businesses are buying more, but the system builders really can't make the cost from HD to SSD, at least not yet, to impact NAND availability. So - while hard drive cost has sky rocketed over the past month, SSDs have edged lower. I do acknowledge that mass storage needs are not practical to replace with an SSD (2TB HD vs. cost for SSD)... None the less..