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3/13/2012
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Hard Drive Shortages Spur Storage Efficiencies

User demand for more storage, rising hard disk drive prices lead IT to look for new ways to maximize resources.

While there is a worldwide hard-disk drive (HDD) shortage due to recent flooding in Thailand that is affecting pricing, industry observers say the impact won't be felt over the long term and that organizations are looking at how to increase efficiencies anyway, due to user demand to store more data.

"There is a shortage and it is forcing prices up, although honestly it's not as bad as it potentially could be," said John Webster, senior partner at research firm Evaluator Group. While he said the shortage is putting upward pressure on the price of disk drives, it is a temporary situation that won't last more than a few months or at most, to the end of the year. "My understanding is capacity is coming back online," he said.

"The uptick in SSD adoption WILL and IS happening for a host of other good reasons, but little of it is driven by the Thailand situation," concurred Mark Peters, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group. "Perhaps a few users will decide to increase their focus on efficiency and use SSD to help in that pursuit, but most people will not change their approach so reactively."

While he agrees that prices are being driven up, Peters said the cost of the HDDs is only a portion of the overall disk system price, which in turn, is only a portion of the storage TCO. "So, while it'll no doubt cause some challenges at the margin, I don't think/hear of it being a game-changer for most people."

However, the shortage is having some ripple effects in the market beside increased HDD prices, said Webster. "It is stimulating the user community also to look at ... trying to pull some more efficiency out of their existing storage environment, or if they're going to make more purchases, look at how those systems use more efficiencies." For example, he said, most organizations run storage arrays at somewhere between a 30% and 50% capacity, but that there are features built into the more modern storage arrays that allow for running between 60% and 80% capacity while still preserving performance.

Read the rest of this article on Network Computing.

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