It looks like this year is going through its second phase of natural disaster-induced economic upheaval, though at least this once the effects will be restricted to just one IT field instead of the whole world's economy.
Though not as bad as the disaster that shook Japan back in March, certainly not as deadly, the floods in Thailand are starting to take their industrial toll.
Both Western Digital and Seagate said that the waters have or will affect their operations, the former's situation being the worst.
Though Seagate stated
it hadn't suffered much disruption, Western Digital was forced to shut down
Now, it is reported
that the prices of HDDs will begin to steadily escalate and will keep doing so for a while, starting next month (November, 2011).
Naturally, this is because of worries that supplies will be constrained, which is very likely.
After all, the Thailand plant accounted for about 60% of WD's shipments during the past quarter, so the leading HDD maker is definitely in not its most favorable position at the moment.
Before the events in Thailand, demand for HDDs was more or less flat, because of how tablets and other products began to use flash storage more freely. This has changed drastically.
Things aren't made any better by the fact that Hitachi Global Storage Technologies and Toshiba also ended up with disrupted operations in the country.
All in all, HDDs will not only be more expensive starting in November, but supply will grow shorter and shorter as time passes.
In other words, the main advantages that hard disk drives units have over solid state drives (affordability and more widespread availability) will be less pronounced soon.
It is unknown how long it will take for this problem to be surmounted, but it seems it will take more than WD, Seagate, Toshiba, Hitachi or anyone else had originally estimated.