2011 will likely be remembered as the year of natural disasters.  The earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan, a more recent earthquake in Turkey, Hurricane Irene even left a huge mark on our home state of Vermont. One of the latest environmental emergencies is having a direct impact on the PC industry. Thailand has been enduring major flooding as a result of a monsoon since July  and over the past few weeks numerous reports have emerged concerning manufacturing facilities for  hard disk drives and their sub components. Western Digital in particular has seen one of their largest manufacturing facilities shut down entirely due to these floods.

The impact has been immediate and has manifested itself through price increases ranging from 50% to 100%+ along with market shortages and limits on the quantity of drives allowed to be purchased by an individual consumer. How this will affect the market in the coming months is unclear, but what does appear to be clear is the fact that this current crisis will only help expedite the migration from mechanical drives to SSDs.

Solid State Drives have taken the crown for performance, power consumption and, at least on paper, reliability. From my perspective, there are two remaining barriers for widespread SSD adoption:  price and capacity – both of which are ever improving. Now that hard disk prices have increased, individuals who are not concerned with capacity have cause for pause to evaluate whether or not the decreased delta in price is worth the plunge.

Have you or the company you work for moved over to flash storage? How has your experience been? If you haven’t, do you feel the current/short term market conditions are enough of a reason to finally migrate?