Future Equipment Shortages

The recent severe floods in Thailand have created an issue with the supply of certain types of computer equipment. 
There are two main aspects to the issue. First of all, future supplies of hard disks and handy drives will be limited as Thailand was a major supply source for them. Secondly, the price for those that are available is increasing rapidly.

This means that if you are considering purchasing a new server or drives within the next three years, you need to consider acting on it now. Suppliers are already limiting the amount they will sell per day and some have said that servers will not be available after Christmas. Dell have stopped selling hard disk drives completely and will only sell a new server if a hard disk fails.

Suppliers are also saying that they don’t know if they will have stock replenished in early 2012 or not. Otherwise, it may be 2014 before more hard disks are manufactured.

Although this is an imminent problem for disks, drives and server replacements, ultimately it could extend into PCs and laptops. It has already started to affect new car manufacturers as they use these components in on-board computers.

The message from this is clear; if you are thinking of renewing or extending any computer equipment in the short to medium term, you need to be addressing it now, as there may be no supplies available or the price may have increased considerably. Also, if your current server, disks or drives fail, you may struggle to get replacements quickly so you need to ensure you have an appropriate business continuity plan in place, as the impact of a failure has increased significantly.

It is, of course, possible that this is all just a sales ploy from the suppliers and manufacturers. We genuinely don’t think this is the case though, as we are already starting to see the effects. We’ve also provided a quote below from one of our suppliers that demonstrates the scale of the issue.

“With regards to the hard-drive situation in general, there is no guarantee of how long stock will last or when we will be receiving new stock. 60-70% of hard-drive manufacturing has been affected by the floods in Thailand and as it stands, we do not know if we are going to be getting new stock in 2012 or 2014.

Companies such as Google and Facebook, who historically use HP servers, have already reverted to contingency plans for their own products as they are unable to source from HP and this would have a knock on effect to their business and stature as a worldwide brand.

The message that is being communicated at the moment is buy now or you don’t know when you can buy again.”

This article from an IT trade publication also gives more details on the issue; http://www.zdnet.co.uk/blogs/jacks-blog-10017212/thailands-floods-will-cause-a-shortage-of-hard-drives-10024693/.

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