Wednesday, July 18th 2018

Western Digital Shuts Down Hard Drive Factory - Just not Enough Demand

With the advent of solid-state storage in pretty much every device you can think of, demand for mechanical HDDs has gone down, because users prefer fast and compact SSD storage over the mechanical dinosaurs. HDD manufacturers have been trying to stop the inevitable by coming out with new technologies to increase capacity - faster than SSD pricing can drop, but it seems they can't prevent the inevitable.

Now The Register UK reports that Western Digital will close its HDD factory near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is one of the company's first factories, operating since 1973. After the shutdown of the Malaysia plant, WD will be left with only two factories in Thailand, and is now trying to gain more share in the SSD market.
WD provided the following comment:
In response to declining long-term demand for client HDDs, Western Digital has taken steps to rationalize its HDD manufacturing operations globally. The company will decommission its HDD manufacturing facility in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, by the end of calendar 2019. This transition will be executed in close collaboration with employees, customers, supply partners and other critical stakeholders.

The data technology industry is undergoing substantial change. This market transformation is driving increased adoption of SSDs and NAND flash in traditional HDD applications. The change has contributed to growth in SSD/NAND flash and declining long-term demand for client HDDs. Consequently, Western Digital plans to expand SSD manufacturing in Penang. The company is in the final stages of commissioning its second SSD facility in Penang, which will go into production in the coming months.
Source: TheRegister
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61 Comments on Western Digital Shuts Down Hard Drive Factory - Just not Enough Demand

#1
QinX
HTPC
256GB Samsung 840 Pro SATA

Workstation PC
256GB mSATA SSD
128GB External mSATA to USB3 Drive

Notebook
2x 256GB proprietary SSD (ASUS Zenbook 500)

NAS
Lots of Harddrives! no SSD
Posted on Reply
#2
kastriot
I am sure that they made lot of money during those 45 years from that factory :)
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#3
Jonathan Marcus
Japanese Toshiba invented NAND flash in 1987. They have always been the pioneer of the FLASH Memory. Toshiba NAND has always been the best of the best among the other NAND brands (Samsung, Hynix and Micron). But they sold the NAND devision of the company. They continue to produce useless! HDD drives. I can not understand that. Why they didn't sell the HDD division of the company rather than the NAND division? SSD technology is the future of the storage. But inventor of the NAND flash sold its NAND devision.
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#4
blobster21
and in the meantime i have those babies lying around, waiting for the future owner(s)
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#5
Tsukiyomi91
the factory is like... an hour or 2 from where I live. o.O
Posted on Reply
#6
TheGuruStud
Jonathan Marcus, post: 3872256, member: 180403"
Japanese Toshiba invented NAND flash in 1987. They have always been the pioneer of the FLASH Memory. Toshiba NAND has always been the best of the best among the other NAND brands (Samsung, Hynix and Micron). But they sold the NAND devision of the company. They continue to produce useless! HDD drives. I can not understand that. Why they didn't sell the HDD division of the company rather than the NAND division? SSD technology is the future of the storage. But inventor of the NAND flash sold its NAND devision.
Bankrupt
Posted on Reply
#7
ShurikN
Jonathan Marcus, post: 3872256, member: 180403"
Why they didn't sell the HDD division of the company rather than the NAND division?
Who in their right mind would buy an HDD division/production/factory in 2018.
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#8
BluesFanUK
Idiots. SSD prices are still obscene.

I just want one giant HDD which I can use to store all my media and never worry about it at a reasonable price.

Get that capacity to stupid sizes like 20TB and it becomes the ultimate media solution with a small SSD for the OS.
Posted on Reply
#9
jabbadap
Jonathan Marcus, post: 3872256, member: 180403"
Japanese Toshiba invented NAND flash in 1987. They have always been the pioneer of the FLASH Memory. Toshiba NAND has always been the best of the best among the other NAND brands (Samsung, Hynix and Micron). But they sold the NAND devision of the company. They continue to produce useless! HDD drives. I can not understand that. Why they didn't sell the HDD division of the company rather than the NAND division? SSD technology is the future of the storage. But inventor of the NAND flash sold its NAND devision.
Toshiba f*ked them selves with that 1.2 Bn$ accounting scandal, which they were found guilty in 2015. That forced them to sell many parts of the company.
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#10
Vya Domus
BluesFanUK, post: 3872282, member: 171099"
Idiots. SSD prices are still obscene.
They are obscene but they are also definitely lower than what they used to be. I'd pick a SSD with half the storage and twice as expensive any day over a HDD.
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#11
StrayKAT
I didn't see that coming.

I still have a need for HDDs.. just because I like massive space (using Seagate now though). I still cache the drives with SSD though (which is why I became a sort of Optane fanboy). There's a place for this niche. At least for secondary drives.
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#12
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
ShurikN, post: 3872269, member: 140585"
Who in their right mind would buy an HDD division/production/factory in 2018.
They repurpose the facility for whatever comes next.

jabbadap, post: 3872288, member: 148195"
Toshiba f*ked them selves with that 1.2 Bn$ accounting scandal, which they were found guilty in 2015. That forced them to sell many parts of the company.
Fukashima Daiachi, running Westinghouse reactors, which Toshiba owned, is what did Toshiba in:
https://money.cnn.com/2018/01/05/investing/toshiba-nuclear-westinghouse-sold/index.html

The NAND part of Toshiba was the only part of Toshiba's business that was doing well.
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#13
ssdpro
jabbadap, post: 3872288, member: 148195"
Toshiba f*ked them selves with that 1.2 Bn$ accounting scandal, which they were found guilty in 2015. That forced them to sell many parts of the company.
The accounting scandal was much bigger than 1.2B. But Toshiba didn't really sell off substantial parts of the company, they sold Toshiba Memory to a consortium of which they still have 40% stake. That 40% with Hoya's (Japanese gov't entity) 10.1% keep management and control essentially in Toshiba's hands.
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#14
renosablast
QinX:

Even NAS and other traditionally HDD-centric enterprise applications are rapidly moving to flash storage instead.
Most every provider of NAS-storage devices has embraced this changeover and is pushing the bulk of their resources over to flash storage.
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#15
dj-electric
blobster21, post: 3872257, member: 2565"
and in the meantime i have those babies lying around, waiting for the future owner(s)
With 73$ per 480GB SSDs these days, things are finally starting to look promising. I hope that in the near future there would not be any owners of 500GB HDDs
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#16
Prima.Vera
Jonathan Marcus, post: 3872256, member: 180403"
Japanese Toshiba invented NAND flash in 1987. They have always been the pioneer of the FLASH Memory. Toshiba NAND has always been the best of the best among the other NAND brands (Samsung, Hynix and Micron). But they sold the NAND devision of the company. They continue to produce useless! HDD drives. I can not understand that. Why they didn't sell the HDD division of the company rather than the NAND division? SSD technology is the future of the storage. But inventor of the NAND flash sold its NAND devision.
Because the Japanese companies are stuck in Jurassic period with old farts running as CIOs and CIEs, with ZERO vision for the future.
This is currently happening with the likes of Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, Sharp, etc, etc... Slowly but surely they are going the way of the Dodo, taking the whole country down with them...
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#17
INSTG8R
My Custom Title
Guess my 2 Blacks and my Blue are gonna be “collectors items”? :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#18
TheinsanegamerN
Our SANs for our server racks all got converted to SSDs this summer.

All the machines I own are pure SSD.

Every machine I have fixed for people this year has had a SSD put in it.

Unless you need metric tons of storage, or cold storage, HDDs are on their way out. The sheer speed of flash makes up for the excessive cost of hgiher end solutions, and smaller SSDs cost the same as HDDs now.
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#19
Athlonite
@INSTG8R I'll see your two blacks and a blue with 3 blacks (2x1TB 1x2TB) a red (1TB) and a Samsung (1TB) oh and a seagate (2TB) from an apple machine + 2 Elements (2TB +USB3.0 500GB) and a passport (USB3.0 4TB)
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#20
Fourstaff
Longevity of SSD vs HDD for archival purposes? We are still using tape for archiving, not sure where HDDs sit in this.
Posted on Reply
#21
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Fourstaff, post: 3872357, member: 78700"
Longevity of SSD vs HDD for archival purposes? We are still using tape for archiving, not sure where HDDs sit in this.
Tape -> HDD -> SSD
Tape has an advantage because it isn't a mechanical thing, the mechanical parts are in the drive. HDDs are more likely to suffer mechanical failures. In both case, the data is magnetic so barring exposure to a strong magnet, the data will be retained so long as the metal is stable (a very long time).

SSDs are billions of switches. Which ever switches fail, that data is gone.


Think about the vast majority of systems out there: thin clients and laptops. These devices are best served by an SSD because none of the data they contain is very important. It's the mainframes, databases, and servers that have racks of redundant hard drives. I suspect they're selling a lot of 2+ TB hard drives to make those systems but the <500 GB drives for thin clients has shrunk to non-existent. Just 5 years ago, virtually every system sold had <500 GB hard drives in them. Now, the base manufacturing costs (the head, the body, the circuitry, and at least one platter) hardly justify them over a SSD. You can't even buy a new 120 GB hard drive anymore and 120 GB SSDs are going for <$50. That's where the demand is.
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#22
altcapwn
BluesFanUK, post: 3872282, member: 171099"
Idiots. SSD prices are still obscene.

I just want one giant HDD which I can use to store all my media and never worry about it at a reasonable price.

Get that capacity to stupid sizes like 20TB and it becomes the ultimate media solution with a small SSD for the OS.
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#23
xorbe
20TB, you should be running some form of raid with redundancy ...
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#24
u2konline
blobster21, post: 3872257, member: 2565"
and in the meantime i have those babies lying around, waiting for the future owner(s)
um do you have a ebay account?

I don't even use SSD, i use sata hard drives, internal and external. probably always will for a long time, i don't think my desktop even supports SSD anyway.
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#25
jabbadap
u2konline, post: 3872448, member: 55232"
um do you have a ebay account?

I don't even use SSD, i use sata hard drives, internal and external. probably always will for a long time, i don't think my desktop even supports SSD anyway.
Heck of course it supports ssds. There is even IDE SSDs.
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