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althing90 karma

Oh wow. The reason why I was unemployed was directly because of the SEA flooding. Here's the story.

When the flooding happened, it promptly flooded nearly 80% of all the vendors and component suppliers for WD, Seagate, and probably Hitachi. Even though the actual WD factory in Thailand survived without devastating effects, it was the component vendors who made actual drive manufacturing virtually impossible. WD went from 200000 drives a day to 50000 overnight.

Recovery was nearly impossible. I would know because Thailand were shipping their machines over to us on a daily basis for recovery or to help run production in Malaysia. It was horrible, so many components were destroyed, rendered nearly useless. I remember seeing a typical drive assembly machine rusted inside out when it arrived. Apparently the forwarders didn't have enough time to dry our the machines, so within a week of transporting by boat, plane or truck, rust had severely developed.

As for price increases, no kidding, the employees used to have the opportunity to buy from the factory, but after the flood, everything changed. All orders to non-OEM customers were cancelled, promotions and offers stopped. We basically ran into disaster recovery mode for one full year. After experiencing the shit first hand, I frankly believe that the price increase was justified. Even finding a drive to buy during that first few months was difficult.

Seagate made it through without too much issue though since most of their component vendors were away from the flood in Thailand. Hence, they won that year in terms of volume sold.

althing64 karma

There's actually an interesting story to your comment;

Few years ago, the IT dept for the factory decided to upgrade all of its servers and storage systems. They bought a a million USD worth of equipment from vendors and after installation, they realized that with all the existing users, they would only have enough to fit 20MB of data per person for email.

The IT boss, when asked why, told that they don't have enough drives to fill their servers. I wish I could show you the face of my managers when they heard that? Mind you, the meeting was held one floor above the entire drive production facility, churning out 50000drives a shift at that time.

Many laughs were had that day.

althing51 karma

The working conditions were generally stressful. One of the main issues were the constant pressure and the mentality that information about everything about the factory had to be kept on our fingertips, stuff like machine runtime, breakdowns, volume output, and the general health of the factory. My phone would be constantly ringing throughout the weekend, and if it wasn't because of the increasing rate of migraines I was getting from sleepless nights, i MIGHT have continued working there.

If any of the machines broke down for 2 minutes, a flood of emails and telephone calls would be made, and if the machine was repaired, it was just a matter of seconds before the next machine breakdown alert was made. If you've used microsoft exchange before, then I would get roughly 100 emails from automated reports, or production reports, the first five minutes of my day. By the end of the day, I'd had to archive roughly 250MB worth of emails to my archive folder on a different hard drive just to retain data, or keep my notebook HDD free of space.

After 8 years, I just didn't like that amount of pressure anymore, and I took the chance to leave with a generous compensation package. Quite a decent package too.

But to be fair, WD provides one of the best working packages around here. If you've worked and survived in WD, there is a general consensus that you can survive anywhere. I find this quite true.

althing31 karma

Back 5 years ago, the statement was 1GB = 1USD. That was five years ago.

I can't really comment on the prices of drives cos its all up to the guys in suits to decide based on market demand, manufacturing cost, and what shit not, but I do know this...

when you buy a hard drive, you're buying cheap. The amount of money spent for space is so much less compared to buying SSD's or memory based drives. If its speed you want, then you better have lotsa cash to spend. If its space, stick to disk drives.

Aerial density is already plateuing. There's really nowhere else to go. Seagate is doing some Shingled Magnetic Recording where data is stored overlapping each other, while Western Digital is going ahead with Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording where they use FREAKING LASERS IN THE HARD DRIVE TO HEAT UP THE DISC SO THAT IT CAN STORE MORE DATA ON THE DISK.

Sorry, i always liked the thought of having FREAKING LASERS in everyday technology.

SD cards 2TB? not too far off. Have you seen what those Taiwanese are innovating with? Craziness!

althing26 karma