Monday, May 28, 2012

The New Normal For Hard Drive Prices

Hard Drive Market Share (by units) & Consolidation CY2011
In our 2011 end of year message we touched on problems in the hard drive supply chain due to the serious flooding in Thailand starting late July 2011 and running through the rest of that year. At the time, the expectation would be that we would see prices return to normal in Q2 or 2012. It now looks like hard drive prices will not return to pre-flood levels. The evidence is that higher hard drive prices are "the new normal".

Consolidation in the hard drive industry, coupled with a prolonged period of low margins most likely means that prices will not return to their previous levels. So if you have been holding off on a storage upgrade, there is little incentive to keep waiting. The hard drive market has seen at least 2 rounds of mass extinction or consolidation over the last 20 years with tens of companies exiting the market, leaving just 3 manufacturers standing. Together Western Digital and Seagate have 87% of the market leaving Toshiba a distant 3rd. Nobody is investing $500M to build a new factory in order to lower their manufacturing costs and put one over on the other 2 guys.

While the take-up of SSDs continues in mobile devices (laptop, tablet), and they make an appearance in the enterprise as specialist devices or as a thin tier above enterprise SATA/SAS drives, "spinning rust" will continue form the bulk of all storage shipped in terms of Terabytes for as far out as anyone is brave enough to predict. Seagate has publicly stated it will be able to produce a 30-60TB 3.5-in. hard drive by 2020.

As an aside, anyone who has waited for a RAID5/6 rebuild on an array of full 1TB drives will know, increasing data density without increasing interface speed brings its own challenges, as does silent data corruption and the need to counter it . If you are worried about either of these problems then we can help you avoid them!

If you need to get more performance from your existing storage, or are struggling with data volumes, or if you simply require impartial advice ahead of making a purchase from one of the big storage vendors, we can probably help you. 360is has experience with environments of all sizes and have completed successful projects with most of the major vendors including  NetApp, EMC, Hitachi, HP, Sun/Oracle, Dell, 3PAR, Datacore, Westek, and Nexenta. Get in touch to get ahead of your storage problems.

1 comment:

Celiena said...

The situation is normal now, because everything prices depend upon the demand of it. If demand is high the prices will be high, but this could not be implement in this situation like we see in Thailand. Article have good points. Keep it up.
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