Subject: General Tech | November 29, 2011 - 12:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, hdd, earnings
It seems very interesting that Seagate is so upbeat about their earnings with the flooding in Thailand causing huge supply shortages of HDD world wide. Last year at this time they were expecting 170 million units move, whereas this year is is 110-120 million units with demand outstripping supply. That number does reflect some supply issues but perhaps not as bad as the issues faced by Western Digital and other manufacturers with a large presence in Thailand. The profit being higher does show what happens when you have a product people want but cannot find; the price per unit quickly goes up and the business can still make a profit. We can only hope that as supply returns to the chain that the price drops at the same speed it has risen. We still do not have final word on Seagate's absorption of Samsung's HDD business, that will likely be in January.
CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Seagate Technology plc (NASDAQ:STX) today updated its financial outlook for the December 2011 and March 2012 quarters.
The company continues to believe that, due to the industry impacts caused by the extensive flooding in Thailand, hard disk drive supply will be significantly constrained for several quarters. For the December 2011 quarter, the company believes the industry will ship between 110-120 million units.
The company believes the industry’s ability to manufacture and ship hard disks drives will gradually improve throughout calendar 2012. While this may alleviate some of the unit demand shortfall, it is expected that some companies will optimize unit shipments by manufacturing lower component count/lower capacity hard disk drives; thereby, only modestly offsetting the growing petabyte shortage. Because demand is estimated to significantly exceed supply during this time, pricing is expected to remain stable.
The company’s component and disk drive factories in Thailand have not been directly affected by the flood; however, the company’s ability to manufacture hard disk drives has been impacted due to external component supply constraints as first disclosed on October 12, 2011.
For the December 2011 quarter, the company now expects unit shipments of approximately 43 million units and revenue of approximately $2.8 billion. Gross margin as a percent of revenue is expected to be 150-300 basis points above the high-end of the company’s long-term, targeted gross margin range of 22-26%. Operating expenses (R&D and SG&A) are expected to be approximately $400 million. Expenses related to the acquisition of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd’s (“Samsung”) hard disk drive business and any revenue or operating expenses of the acquired business following the closing date cannot be estimated at this time and are therefore excluded from this outlook. The company continues to expect to close the acquisition of Samsung’s hard disk drive business by the end of December 2011.
The company’s outlook for the March 2012 quarter assumes requisite regulatory approvals are received and the Samsung acquisition closes in December of 2011. The company also continues to work with its external suppliers to restore the component supply chain, and now expects that in the March quarter it will be capable of shipping a mix of products in terms of capacity per drive and expected market similar to pre-flood levels. Currently, for the March 2012 quarter, the company expects unit shipments to increase sequentially. Revenue is expected to be at least $3.75 billion and gross margin as a percent of revenue is expected to be at least 300 basis points above the aforementioned targeted range of 22-26%. The outlook for the March 2012 quarter excludes certain costs related to the integration of the acquired Samsung hard disk drive operations which cannot be estimated at this time.
The financial outlook provided today does not include the arbitration award previously disclosed on November 21, 2011.
Western Digital launches Sentinel Series of NAS devices, bringing enterprise features to the small business.
Subject: Storage | November 15, 2011 - 08:08 AM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: western digital, wdc, WD, NAS, home, hdd
Today Western Digital launches their Sentinel line of NAS devices. These Intel Atom powered devices can store up to 12TB when equipped with 3TB drives. The OS of choice is Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials, which supports RAID levels 1 and 5, as well as built in backup routines and the ability to configure the devices dual Gigabit ports with Adaptive Fault Tolerance (redundancy).
Also available are some interesting yet agressive service options via Western Digital's Guardian Services, which include options for next-day warranty replacement of defective or failed parts, as well as the option to extend the warranty period from three to five years.
Pricing starts at $949.99 for 4TB (3 bay) and $1449.99 for 8TB (4 bay).
Following is the press release, and even more detail and pics should be available from WD themselves once their product link page goes live.
WD® DELIVERS NEW LINE OF NETWORK STORAGE SERVERS FOR SMALL TO MEDIUM BUSINESSES
WD Sentinel™ DX4000 Small Office Storage Server Combines Centralized Storage, Backup-and-Restore Protection for 25 Network Devices and Allows SMBs to Connect, Protect, and Collaborate
IRVINE, Calif. – Nov. 15, 2011 – Western Digital® (NYSE: WDC), the world’s leader in digital storage solutions, is introducing WD Sentinel™ DX4000 (photo), a complete network storage solution designed specifically to meet the demands of today's small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs). WD Sentinel DX4000 includes the Windows® Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials operating system software and the Intel® D525 Dual Core Atom CPU. The WD Sentinel DX4000 is centralized shared storage and automatic server-based backup and restore for up to 25 devices (PC and Mac®) in the network. It offers complete data protection with built-in hardware and software redundancy for all of the connected devices in the network. With capacities including 4 TB and 8 TB, WD Sentinel DX4000 lets small business owners expand small office server storage capacity as their business and storage demands grow. In addition, the WD Sentinel DX4000 small office storage server acts as the “on-premise cloud storage" for the SMB.
“The WD Sentinel small office storage server is the ideal storage, backup, and secure remote access solution for any SMB,” said Thomas Gallivan, vice president of marketing for WD’s SMB Solutions Group.
WD® Introduces New Line of Network Storage Servers for Small to Medium Businesses
“The ability to have centralized storage that is both on-premise and offers secure remote access provides a small business owner and employees the flexibility needed for today’s mobile lifestyle. WD is providing small business owners with a hands-free solution that offers complete data protection and unparalleled peace-of-mind.”
“The requirement for collaboration across multiple devices and locations necessitates the need for a centralized storage solution in today’s SMB environment”, said David Tuhy, General Manager, Intel Data Center and Connected Systems Group. “Intel is working closely with the industry and companies like Western Digital to provide the technology that is at the core of these storage solutions and provide SMBs a platform to manage, organize and secure their data to ensure business continuity.”
“Built on Windows Storage Server, WD Sentinel gives small business customers the storage and file services capabilities of Windows Server, as well as a solution aimed specifically at the SMB segment,” said Thomas Pfenning, general manager, Storage, at Microsoft. “We are pleased to see WD Sentinel serve our mutual customers.”
Whether they’re personal or professional, digital content and important files are invaluable and often irreplaceable if lost or compromised. WD Sentinel small office storage server provides several ways for businesses to protect their information without user intervention. WD Sentinel comes preconfigured with enterprise-class drives, RAID storage protection, built-in server based backup and recovery software, redundant networking ports and a redundant power option. In addition, WD Sentinel offers users the ability to connect to a “public cloud” storage provider, which offers small businesses an economical and integrated disaster recovery solution against earthquake, theft and fire or water damage.
Software included with WD Sentinel provides business owners and their employees the freedom and flexibility to remotely access files and share files with external employees, independent consultants and satellite offices anywhere in the world.
Five Levels of Data Protection
WD Sentinel DX4000 provides five levels of data protection for every device on the small office network and is supported by WD Guardian Services.
WD® Introduces New Line of Network Storage Servers for Small to Medium Businesses
1. The Drives Inside: Pre-configured with WD’s award-winning enterprise-class drives for durability and reliability.
2. RAID: Featuring levels 1 and 5 for data protection and speed.
3. Daily Backup: Automatic backup and recovery software provides daily full system back ups for up to 25 devices on your network. Simply set it and forget it.
4. Redundant Network Connectivity: Dual Gigabit Ethernet configured in Adaptive Fault Tolerance (AFT) automatically switches to second network port in the event of a network failure.
5. Optional Disaster Recovery Protection: Connect to the small business cloud provided by optional disaster recovery software and store your data offsite for disaster recovery.
WD Sentinel is certified to be compatible with a variety of Operating Systems (OS) including Windows XP, Windows Vista®, and Windows 7. In addition, WD Sentinel is compatible with Mac OS X® Leopard® and Snow Leopard® for file sharing among Windows, Mac and Unix/Linux operating systems and allows businesses to share files with clients, consultants, and inter-office personnel regardless of the OS used.
WD Guardian™Services for Small Business
WD Sentinel DX4000 is backed by WD’s world-class customer service and support. All WD Sentinel small business customers will receive free tech support for 30 days from the time of the first call. WD Sentinel customers may wish to upgrade their service plan to one of three options:
1. WD Guardian Express: Offers next-day parts replacement service including shipping and handling costs.
2. WD Guardian Pro: Offers a one year support agreement with WD service, express parts replacement and priority access to technical support.
3. Guardian Extended Care: Service that extends the product warranty from the standard three year warranty to five years.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | November 8, 2011 - 10:54 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thailand, nidec, hdd
While Western Digital is still nowhere near the point where they can think about cleaning up their factory and getting started on the road to recovery there is good news for other HDD manufacturers from Thailand. Nidec, a company which provides about 75% of the global supply of motors for HDDs, also has quite a bit of their manufacturing capacity in Thailand, in the neighbourhood of 62% according to DigiTimes. Two of their Thailand based plants are back in business and they are redistributing quite a bit of workload to their Philippines manufacturing plants, in the hopes of increasing the supply of these critical motors.
Seagate, Fujitsu and other major HDD manufacturers desperately need these parts in order to help meet the demand from the market before we can even think to see prices begin to return to previous levels. This is not going to be a quick return since Western Digital and its subsidiaries accounted for about 50% of the HDD market and they have much more work to do in order to repair their factories than Nidec.
"Nidec currently has 10 production bases in Thailand with eight of them have been damaged by the floods. As water started to recede, Nidec announced its Rangsit plants, which stopped operation on October 13, already resumed production on October 25, while Ayutthaya plants also started operating normally on November 4.
Nidec's two plants in Philippine will also see their monthly capacity rise from 15 million units originally to 25 million units with capacity in China plants also increase from 10 million units to 15 million units. However, the total capacity in the fourth quarter will still drop close to 30% from 140 million units in the third."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Asustek delays Transformer Prime to December @ DigiTimes
- Boffins spy on iPhone screens from 200ft away @ The Register
- Interview with Jon Waring of Buffalo Technology @ HardwareHeaven
- VirtualBox 4.1 OpenGL 3D Guest Performance @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | November 4, 2011 - 11:42 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, thailand, flooding, western digital, Samsung
According to SemiAccurate both Western Digital and Samsung will cease shipping hard drives to suppliers and retailers because of the devastating flooding in Thailand. Both companies need to find a new source for head stacks and drive motors and Western Digital will need temporary manufacturing facilities while they wait for the flood waters to recede and repairs to start on their damaged factory. Expect to see this have large effects on the industry as major suppliers like Dell, Acer, ASUS and HP do not tend to keep large supplies of hard drives lying around in storage which means that only the models with SSDs inside will be able to be manufactured and shipped out. That reduction in production in turn will effect motherboard, GPU and CPU manufacturers as the demand for their products drop. While you will not convince the 11,000+ Thai people who have been displaced by the flooding that the fate of Western Digital's factory is the biggest impact of this disaster, for many in the western world it is the only reason they are paying attention to this story.
"According to sources that we have spoken with in the Taiwanese market both Samsung and Western Digital have decided to suspend shipments of disk drives to PC makers in Taiwan due to a parts shortage."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- VIA suffers continued net loss in 3Q11 @ DigiTimes
- Real iPad 3 reportedly to launch in 3Q12 @ DigiTimes
- Japanese supercomputer breaks the world record @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2011 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: A*STAR, hdd, STT-MRAM
A*STAR Data Storage Institute was in the news two weeks ago with the results of their experiment of doping hard drive storage medium with salt allows a 6 fold increase in storage density thanks to much tighter sputtering of magnetic grains on the platter. They are back in the news with another development in a different kind of storage medium altogether. With Micron partnering in the development they are working on a new type of resistive RAM, which will bring speeds better than you can get with flash and in a non-volatile form. The technology is referred to as spin transfer torque magnetic random access memory or STT-MRAM. Drop by The Register for a look at what they are up to, as well as what the competition is working on to bring us the next generation of NAND.
"NAND suppliers and technology developers are anticipating this by developing follow-on technologies centred around the idea of non-volatile, resistive RAM (RRAM), which is faster to access than flash and has a longer working life. There are a variety of ways of altering the resistance of a memory cell and Micron is entering into a joint research and development agreement with Singapore's A*STAR Data Storage Institute (DSI) to develop spin transfer torque magnetic random access memory or STT-MRAM."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Simple earphone repair saves a big chunk of cash @ Hack a Day
- AMD Bulldozer With GCC, Open64, LLVM/Clang Compilers @ Phoronix
- Critical Windows zero-day bug exploited by Duqu @ The Register
- Duracell 5 Hour Mobile Phone and MP3 Portable USB Charger @ kitguru
- The opposite of virtualization: Calxeda's new quad-core ARM part for cloud servers @ Ars Technica
- Here’s your flying car @ Hack a Day
Subject: General Tech, Storage | October 27, 2011 - 04:00 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: wdc, shortage, Seagate, Samsung, hitachi, hdd, Hard Drive
Chances are good you have heard about the recent flooding in Thailand - as Yahoo puts it: "The country's worst flooding in half a century, caused in part by unusually heavy monsoon rain, has killed 373 people since mid-July and disrupted the lives of nearly 2.5 million." Obviously this is a horrific disaster and we feel for the people affected by it.
But there is a tech angle to the story that has been showing up in many of our discussions as late and is the impact this disaster has had on the production of spindle-based hard drives. Looking for a 2TB hard drive today on Newegg.com this is what I found:
Prices for hard drives have sky rocketed in the last week or so due to the pending shortage of them across the world. Many of the top manufacturers have facilities based in Thailand for production as well as partners that are responsible for supplying companies like Western Digital, Seagate, Samsung and Hitachi with the parts they need to produce platter-based drives.
While we used to talk about finding 2TB hard drives in the $89 price range, the best prices we could find on comparable units today start at $129; and this is for the slower units. Western Digital Caviar Black drives are starting at unit prices of $229 now!
Pricing graph from Pricegrabber.com for Western Digital Caviar Black 2TB
If you are careful and shop around, you can still find drives like this for the $149 price point at sellers like Amazon are bit slower to update their prices. (Scratch that, after publication this was already at $199!) But don't just blindly purchase drives at this point - do your research!
WD drives aren't the only ones affected. When doing a search for a Seagate 2TB drive, these were our results:
When asked for comment, a representative of one of the affected manufacturers expressed concern for the people of Thailand first, but when pressed, said:
"The entire hard drive business is affected. Two of our factories are inundated with water, which supports 60% of our output. But a ton of suppliers that the entire industry uses are also flooded so we are all impacted."
While looking over at WD's press center we found this comment from John Coyne, President and CEO:
In mid-October, to protect our employees and our equipment and facilities, we temporarily suspended production at our two factories in Thailand, which have been inundated by floodwater. In addition, many of our component suppliers have been impacted, leaving material for hard drive production considerably constrained. We are working with suppliers to assess the extent of their impact and help devise short- and long-term solutions. This is a complex and dynamic challenge that will require extensive rebuilding for the Thai people and government, and present unprecedented obstacles to the hard drive industry for multiple quarters.
Obviously with a majority of the facilities affected we can only expect these prices hikes to increase and to linger. That fact that Coyne specifically notes "multiple quarters" indicates that users likely won't see a return to the pricing we were used to until at least mid-2012. With competition from solid-state drives heating up, this could be bad timing for companies dependent on spindle drives as the driving revenue source: comparing a $300 SSD to a $90 standard drive is a much different decision than that same $300 SSD and a $240 standard drive of high capacity.
According to this report from Xbit labs, the industry has "two to four weeks" of hard drive inventory available. The author claims that this points to the situation not being so dire, but with the WD's CEO stating the effects will be seen for "multiple quarters", I am guessing we will see a major buy-up of inventory from system builders like HP and Dell that will cause drive shortages much more quickly than anticipated.
PC Perspective will keep tracking the effects on driving pricing and if any player in the business has other input they want to offer us. Stay tuned!
Subject: Storage | October 14, 2011 - 05:21 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: hdd, Hard Drive
With all of this SSD talk lately, let's not forget where storage stuff originated from - the HDD. Here's your spinning rust... ah-hem, Hard Drive lesson for the day:
Hard drives store bits by changing the magnetic alignment of magnetic 'grains' which have been 'sputtered' onto the surface of an extremely flat surface, or platter. Here are some grains created with current tech (lesson after the break):
Due to the random arrangement, storing bits on the above requires each bit to span across several grains as to ensure it is properly written.
The Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), based in Singapore, does all sorts of experimentation with, well, materials research. They had the bright idea to mix in a pinch of table salt into the sputtering process. This, combined with the use of electron-beam lithography, allows much greater control over grain creation - namely they can actually 'draw' them.
E-beam-etched grains formed with IMRE's new process.
Not only does this enable them to have more control over grain size, but it also allows them to create them in defined tracks. This lets the drive store one-bit per grain. Combine smaller grains with a better ratio of bits to grains and you've got potential for increasing magnetic storage by nearly an order of magnitude. IMRE has already tested the process at densities of 1.9Tb/in2, and they've created platters at up to 3.3Tb/in2. Consider current HDD's run at ~0.5Tb/in2, we're talking 6x the capacity - just when we thought HDD's were leveling off.
IMRE claims the new tech can be easily implemented with existing manufacture lines. The only potential catch I see is that with current HDD's, they make the platter and form tracks onto it once it's already fully assembled. This new tech creates the tracks in the middle of the process. This makes for potential alignment issues when going for a perfect 1-bit per grain density. Think of it as writing to a CD or DVD - the tracks are already there, so your drive's laser has extra components to help it keep the beam locked onto the track during writing (to account for any wobble, etc). HDD's using this new tech may need to employ a similar method, adding complexity to what is likely already the most complex part of these drives.
This development will not only enable higher capacity drives, it should help drop the price of current capacities. I guess SSD's will have to wait a bit longer before taking over the world.
Subject: Storage | September 6, 2011 - 10:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: hitachi, hdd, deskstar, cinemastar, 1TB Platter
Hitachi GST (Global Storage Technologies) today announced that the company is beefing up their product line by moving to 1 TB per platter technology. With an aerial density of 569 Gb/in^2 (569 Gigabits per square inch) for desktop drives, both Deskstar and CinemaStar product lines will be infused with the new platter technology and will range in capacities from 250 GB to 1 TB. We are currently awaiting an update as to whether the lower capacity drives are using older technology or fractions of the 1TB per platter drives, so stay tuned for an update. This will be important for the performance of the lower capacity drives because the improved aerial density of the 1TB per platter technology brings a healthy performance boost over the older technology due to the amount of data that is able to be read at a time.
The Deskstar lineup is for consumers and enthusiasts while the CinemaStar drives are low power drives best suited for A/V work in streaming HD video and/or writing HD streams to the disk. Such applications include security cameras, IPTV, and DVRs. The new Deskstar drives are available for purchase now; however, the CinemaStar hard drives will not be available until later this fall.
The Deskstar drives come in two flavors, the higher performance 7200 RPM 7K1000.D and the low power 5K1000.B hard drives that employ Hitachi’s Coolspin technology. Both models feature 32MB of cache, SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) interfaces, and power savings versus their predecessors. The HVERT and 8th generation power management technology has allowed Hitachi to claim 15% idle power savings on the 7K1000.D. On the other hand, the 5K1000.B sees a 23% idle power savings versus its predecessor.
The CinemaStar drives also employ 32MB of cache and the SATA 3 (6 Gb/s) interface. Hitachi claims that 90% of demand (for AV oriented hard drives) lies in single disk hard drives between 250 GB and 500 Gigabytes in capacity. Just like the Deskstar variants, the CinemaStar lineup is also broken up into faster 7K1000.D and low power, slower spinning 5K1000.B products.
While Hitachi is moving to 1 TB per platter, they are slated to be acquired by Western Digital in Q4 2011. The company will continue to ship the drives until “their logical end of life.” The important bit; however, is that Hitachi GST product warranties will continue to be honored after the acquisition. Have you used Hitachi drives lately, or have you moved on to the larger manufacturers?
Subject: Storage | July 11, 2011 - 02:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: western digital, WD30EURS. 3TB, hdd
If you are building an HTPC or even a file server which is focused on quiet operation in a small area, picking up a Velociraptor isn't your best choice. Since the plan also includes a drive with a huge amount of storage space, you might use an SSD for your OS but it is a little expensive to pick up an SSD(s) large enough to keep all of your media. Western Digital's AV-GP WD30EURS is a 3TB HDD which will operate between 5400-7200 RPM and is designed for use in consumer electronics, hence the Audio/Visual part of the name. It is different from the normal Green Power series as it utilizes ATA streaming commands with optimize the drive for multiple, large and sequential accesses at the expense of data integrity, and it tends to run a little hotter as well. Make sure you are running Vista or Win7 and a UEFI based motherboard before picking the drive up. TechARP's full review is here.
"Today, we will look at Western Digital’s largest capacity AV-GP hard disk drive - the WD30EURS. This hard disk drive is not only quieter and cooler than regular hard disk drive, it also packs a whooping storage capacity of 3 terabytes! Let’s take a look!"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- OCZ Vertex 3 @ Bjorn3D
- OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Apacer TurboII AS602 120GB SSD Review @ Real World Labs
- Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Corsair Force Series GT 120GB SSD Review - The Force GT and Force Series 3 Compared! @The SSD Review
- Corsair Force 3 120GB @ Tweaktown
- Patriot Supersonic Magnum 64GB USB 3.0 Thumb Drive @ Tweaktown
- Kingston DataTraveler Ultimate G2 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ Real World Labs
- QNAP TS-219P+ NAS Network Server @ Benchmark Reviews
- ineo Protection Box - I-NC05 @ Computing on Demand
- G-Drive Slim 500GB @ t-break
- Mushkin Class10 SDHC Card Review @ Neoseeker
Subject: Storage | June 10, 2011 - 12:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hdd, western digital, caviar green, 3tb
Before you go running out and buying the Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB HDD, there are a few caveats to remember. You will not be able to just pop this into a WinXP machine and expect to use it at full capacity, you need to have a motherboard with UEFI in order to boot from it and finally the implementation of Advanced Format Technology is still stuck in 512-byte emulation mode.
On the plus side, the drive spins at about 6600 RPM and is SATAS 6Gbs which makes it faster that it's smaller predecessor. Only the non-AFT version of the 2TB Green drive can beat it for throughput. Check out the full review at TechARP.
"Western Digital divides their internal hard drives into three distinct families - the WD Caviar Blue for their basic hard drives, the WD Caviar Green for their quieter, cooler hard drives and the WD Caviar Black for their performance-grade hard drives.
According to Western Digital, Caviar Green hard disk drives offer an average power saving of 4-5 watts over their competitors, a feat that they claim is equivalent to reducing CO2 emissions by 13.8 kg per year. Of course, that’s a mere drop in the ocean but if you can help save the environment while you work or play on your computer, why not?
Today, we will look at the improved Western Digital Caviar Green 3 TB hard disk drive - the new Western Digital WD30EZRX with Advanced Format Technology and 6 Gbps interface. Let’s find out how well this drive performs!"
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- SuperSpeed USB 3.0 INEO I-NA309D Pro @ TechwareLabs
- OCZ Technology Agility 3 240GB @ Tweaktown
- QNAP TS-659 Pro II NAS @ Benchmark Review
- Kingston Data Traveller G2 3.0 64GB @ XSReviews
- Centon Rush 3.0 @ HardwareBistro
- Patriot Memory Supersonic 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Review @ PCSTATS
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