One would think that a flooding disaster severe enough to throw the global HDD production out of whack would have consequences that follow at least some measure of logic, but that does not seem to be the case.
There was a time when practically everyone even remotely affected by the late 2011 flood in Thailand
thought the same thing: that HDD production disruption would hurt sales and shipments, through both shortages and higher prices.
That included HDD companies (Seagate
, Western Digital
), analysts and consumers themselves.
The only one with a more blasé attitude about the whole thing was Advanced Micro Devices
, but even it said that, though it wouldn't be severe, the effect would be detrimental.
In the end, the so-called shortages lasted for a much shorter time than anyone thought. Meanwhile, panicked product vendors and PC makers made large orders, fearing potential shortages later on.
This caused HDD prices to skyrocket even more than they would have had otherwise, even as sales not only continued, but thrived.
The HDD crisis ended up benefiting Seagate and Western Digital greatly, and now we have the final piece of proof we need to believe that shortages never really became more than an annoyance: analyst firm IHS iSuppli has predicted that HDD shipments will be record-high this year.
“The yearly rise in HDD shipments is the result of greater demand from the consumer and enterprise PC segments, both of which continue to clamor for disk space in order to hold storage-intensive media like music, videos and other forms of social media content,” said
Fang Zhang, analyst for storage systems at IHS.
“As downloadable media content becomes more readily accessible and affordable, so will the quest for storage space continue in order to satisfy unremitting demand. Meanwhile, the HDD industry has completely resolved disruptions to its HDD manufacturing and component supply caused by the Thailand disaster that struck one year ago.”
At this point, even though we know that the data center and enterprise/business segments experienced some storage-related hardships, we can't really view the HDD “crisis” as anything more than the loudest and longest false alarm in recent past.