Japan quake stabilised storage market

Shipments in the  storage market jumped in all segments for the second quarter of this year – kick-started by the tragedy in Japan, which saw manufacturers rush to stockpile inventory.

Hard disk drives, optical disk drives and solid state drives climbed 4.5 percent from the first quarter into the second, reaching 248.8 million units – up from 238.1 million. It was a year-on-year increase of 5.6 percent, from 235.5 million units shipped for the same time in 2010.

While other sectors of the technology industry had their stability threatened by the earthquake in Japan, it boosted orders and inventory up to reasonable levels, according to IHS. HDDs benefited the most, climbing 4.2 percent from 160.4 million in the first quarter up to 167.1 million units shipped.

Optical disc drives enjoyed a 4.4 percent increase up to 78.3 million units. However, revenues stagnated because prices declined. IHS also pins the blame on the transition into purely digital media, with plenty of OEMs ditching optical discs in favour of sleeker systems pioneered by Apple.

SSD shipments continued to grow. Second quarter figures were at 3.4 million units – from 2.8 million in Q1 – or a 21.4 percent growth. Cache SSDs, which are a cost-effective option to bolster system performance, are expected to grow even further over the coming years.

However, the relatively new segment will be troubled in its formatitive years, facing challenges like a very crowded set of manufacturers, as well as a strong reliance on third-party controllers and NAND. To keep SSDs sustainable, IHS believes the supplier base needs thinning out.