Massive Thailand Floods Likely To Cause Widespread Hard Drive Shortage

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Both Western Digital and Seagate declined to comment further on the Thailand flood impact on their hard drive production, and said they would update the situation at their quarterly financial conference calls scheduled for this week.

Hitachi Global Storage Technology (Hitachi GST) said its Thailand mobile drive production facilities have not suffered from the floods, and that its employees are safe. However, the company said some of its suppliers have been hit hard.

In its statement, the company said, "Hitachi GST expects there will be near term supply constraints primarily to the Travelstar mobile hard drives. We are currently working to determine our existing inventory pool of sub-components as well as contingencies for minimizing the supply impact through alternate sourcing. We. . . will update customers on a regular basis as to what they can expect regarding current orders and any short-term product constraints for the quarter."

Custom system builders are bracing for hard drive shortages.

One system builder, who declined to be named, said his company was warned by its hard drive manufacturer sales representatives last week to stock up on hard drive inventory as quickly as possible.

Another system builder who also wished to remain anonymous said his company has heard from its manufacturer to expect shortages to come quickly.

Todd Swank, vice president of marketing at Northern Computer Technologies (Nor-Tech), a Burnsville, Minn.-based system builder, said he is seeing the Thailand floods leading to a major shortage of hard drives.

"I remember when Taiwan had that earthquake," Swank said. "DRAM prices spiked afterwards. We could see the same scenario now with hard drives. We're taking moves to stock up on drives."


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