HP: Hard drive shortages hitting Google, Facebook DIY servers

HP: Hard drive shortages hitting Google, Facebook DIY servers

Summary: Google and Facebook may already be squeezed by hard drive shortages, says HP's CEO.


The do-it-yourself server crowd is apparently having trouble procuring hard drives due to the floods in Thailand.

Facebook's servers lack vanity plastic and perhaps the supply chain connections to procure hard drives amid shortages.

HP CEO Meg Whitman said the company expected to see weaker server demand due to hard drive shortages. However, Whitman also said HP had set up a war room and was able to procure drives. "I think we'll get our fair share of drives," said Whitman.

Large cloud players who have opted to build their own servers may not be as lucky. Here's what Whitman said:

We hear all the time that people are building their own servers. There are a few number of companies that are building their own servers. I will tell you right about now they aren't building their own servers because they can't get the disk drives so they're calling us but I don't think it is a huge longer term trend. Yes, the Google and Facebook are doing some of that but I will tell you they're all calling us right now because they don't have the ability to get the drives.

A few thoughts on those comments:

  • It's likely that Google and Facebook lack the buying scale to procure drives in advance. Whitman noted she talked to the heads of all of HP's four disk drive partners and made strategic purchase of hard drives in October.
  • If companies are going to make their own stripped down servers they will have to become supply chain and procurement experts.
  • On the consumer front, the Thailand floods are likely to speed up adoption of solid state drives. If shortages persist isn't it possible that Google and Facebook would move to SSD hybrid data centers? The costs don't add up at the moment, but SSD would be an option.
  • If there's a hard drive squeeze on the DIY server players it's likely to hit in the first and second quarters. "I think this is going to be pretty tough for the industry," said Whitman.


Topics: Google, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, Servers, Social Enterprise

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  • RE: HP: Hard drive shortages hitting Google, Facebook DIY servers

    Google is the 4th largest server manufacturer in the world. I can still buy a drive on Amazon, albeit more expensively, so something tells me Google will figure this out just fine.
  • RE: HP: Hard drive shortages hitting Google, Facebook DIY servers

    well you might be able to buy "a" hard drive on Amazon, but last year HP averaged around 3 PC's per second in production worldwide....yup...do the math 3 X 60Sec X 60min X 24 hours in a day..sorry Joe but you better buy that Amazon drive as fast as you can borrow mommy's credit card as it is obvious you have no clue what the economic impact of the Thailand tragedy is building towards. In case your pencil is slow...HP motors through around 250,000 HDD's EVERY DAY!
    • RE: HP: Hard drive shortages hitting Google, Facebook DIY servers


      WOW! I didn't think it was anywhere near that many, but after some verification you are quite close to the correct numbers.
      Shows how many computers are made each day.
  • RE: HP: Hard drive shortages hitting Google, Facebook DIY servers

    Blatant and crude public relations scaremongering by HP - you really should have asked FB and Big G for a comment; you may have been able to put HP straight.
  • Large capacity drive production is restarting first.

    The drive makers are putting all their resources into getting their highest profit margin drives back into production. These 2TB and larger drives are primarily consumed by the server market. We are less than 45 days away from pre-flood production levels of those drives. Large server companies including Google and FB won't have trouble procuring them, they'll just have to pay a little more to out bid the smaller players. The real impact will be on retailers and small box makers that rely on the small/mid capacity drives. They are facing two to three quarters of constrained supplies.
  • RE: HP: Hard drive shortages hitting Google, Facebook DIY servers

  • Bout dern time...

    ...that they bring some of the manufacturing capacity back to the U.S.!!! It's their OWN STINKIN FAULT that they got caught in this dilemma -- outsourcing component production to cheap Asian suppliers.
  • RE: HP: Hard drive shortages hitting Google, Facebook DIY servers

    Like I keep on saying: they should have had SOME manufacturing capacity, even if it was only 1/4th their usual capacity, somewhere else in Thailand or in another country as a backup.

    Yes, having it 'lie fallow' wastes money, however you can have it set up to do the 'most expensive' drives and then be quickly swap-able to do the regular old common capacities.
  • Oh Boo Hoo !

    Maybe if we actually manufactured something in the U.S.A, it would not be a problem. But it is cheaper to let the 3rd World do it - gotta get those margins even higher! And talk about single point of failure. Is Thailand the only country in the world that makes hard drives - really?
  • Hard Drive Shortages

    I work as a data recovery technician for http://www.sfbayarealowcostdatarecovery.com and this has been a real problem for us as well. We have had to raise our hard drive prices for customers. Hopefully hard drive prices will start to go back down!