Drive manufactures increasing prices, reducing warranties

EMC announced that they will be putting a 15% premium for the price of all drives indefinateley because of the flooding in Thailand. That can’t make their customer base very happy. Still nothing says “get that end of the year deal done” like a price jump.

EMC has notified partners and customers that it will raise the list prices of its hard drives by up to 15% beginning Jan. 1 due to shortages caused by Thailand floods. The increases are expected to be temporary, depending on how long it takes damaged hard drive manufacturing plants to recover.

Hot on the heels of Western Digital deciding that they would drop warranties from 3 years to 2, Seagate followed suit (just don’t call it collusion).

WD:

This new warranty policy will be effective for drives shipped from January 2nd, 2012. It is important that you take a moment to update your website(s) and collateral to reflect this change for effected drives shipped after January 1st, 2012.

Seagate:

Effective December 31, 2011, Seagate will be changing its warranty policy from a 5 year to a 3 year warranty period for Nearline drives, 5 years to 1 year for certain Desktop and Notebook Bare Drives, 5 years to 3 years on Barracuda XT and Momentus XT, and from as much as 5 years to 2 years on Consumer Electronics.

Now I can’t necessarily fault EMC for going that route. As a business you can only absorb the increase in costs for a certain period of time before you will have to pass those costs onto the customer. What bothers me more is WD and Seagate dropping warranty support 33%, and in some cases 80%. That’s a cheap move, and it smacks of built in obsolescence for your product line. Nothing gives me a vote of confident like saying “Hey our product is crap and will die a lot earlier than even we expected, so we are going to make sure you have to buy a new drive instead of getting the defective ones replaced”

But lets be honest, both  Seagate and Western Digital have a duopoly on the hard drive business, and they can pretty much set pricing world wide. Lets also face facts that consumer storage is pretty cheap and the margins are continuing to be reduced, but Enterprise class storage is still awfully expensive. I’ve had to make the argument time and time again that the 1TB drive you get over at Frys wouldn’t last 15 minutes in a production SAN environment, many CFO types just cannot grasp that concept and balk when it turns out that the new storage array I’m pushing will cost anywhere from $7000 to $12,000  per TB usable, but thats a rant for another time.

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