Of course, the effect on the industry is minor compared to the effect on the Thai people themselves, where so far nearly 400 have died in what is said to be the worst flooding in 50 years. But as the worst of the flooding appears to be over, the country is beginning to examine the economic effects — which could end up being nearly as damaging as the economic unpleasantness a few years back, according to component research firm iSuppli:
“As a result of the flooding, the HDD industry in the fourth quarter will suffer its worst downturn in three years. HDD shipments in the fourth quarter will decline to 125 million units, down 27.7 percent from 173 million in the third quarter, as presented in the figure attached. The drop is the largest sequential decrease on a percentage basis since the fourth quarter of 2008 when shipments fell 21.2 percent during the worst point of the last electronics downturn. IHS estimates that 30 percent of HDD production in the fourth quarter this year will be lost because of the disaster. This will result in a significant shortage of HDDs. Because of the shortage, HDD inventories will be depleted and will cause average HDD pricing to rise by 10 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the third.”
Thailand is the world’s second-largest provider of hard disk drives, after China, and has manufacturing facilities for Western Digital and Toshiba, iSuppli goes on to say. And while Seagate has an operating plant in the area, it may face a shortage of parts, according to Reuters.
In fact, the effects are likely to be so devastating that they will change Western Digital’s status in disk drive manufacturing, iSuppli says. “Western Digital is likely to lose its status as the world’s largest shipper of HDDs, with its rank expected to fall two positions to third in the fourth quarter, down from first place in the third quarter. Toshiba’s rank could fall to fourth place, down from fifth.”
Slowdowns are particularly likely to occur in notebook PCs in the first quarter of next year, iSuppli said, because some components are stockpiled and the market will likely adjust to use different sources by the second quarter. Several notebook providers, including Compai, said their quarterly earnings might be lower as a result of lower shipments due to the lack of disk drives. (Though, if the Japanese flash storage manufacturers recover, perhaps this will push a faster-than-expected switch to flash storage in notebooks?)
Part of the blame goes to increasingly tight “just in time” manufacturing supply chains, where parts are shipped essentially as they’re needed rather than being warehoused, Reuters noted.
Iain Bowles of ProBrand had even more dire predictions, of price increases of up to 25 percent. In fact, shortages from the Thai natural disaster could be worse than the Japan earthquake because stockpiles are smaller, he said. Moreover, he believes it could extend into the second quarter of next year as well, and that the recovery is likely to be slower than in Japan.]]>
What would be the advantage of such a system? As opposed to virtualizing servers — which is typically done to make the server denser and require less room, power, and cooling — virtualizing a phone means that a person could have a single phone both for work and for personal use, without the employer being as concerned about security breaches and without the employee having to juggle two phones.
For now, the VMware Horizon software runs only on Android phones; oddly, Microsoft — which is adding its Hyper-V hypervisor to Windows 8 — doesn’t appear to have announced virtualization for its Windows phones yet.
This isn’t the first such announcement — VMware made an agreement with LG for its phones in December, as well as a similar agreement with Samsung, and there’s talk about smartphones powered by chips offering virtualization ever since the chips came out– but now virtualization can be a part of the mobile service as well as the phone itself.
VMware is also reportedly working with Google to put virtualization into the Android operating system itself. Such a development could make it much more likely that Android phones would be more desirable than the iPhone — which doesn’t give third-party developers the same level of access that Android phones have — though VMware has made it clear that it’s willing to work with Apple as well.
“One tap of the screen, for example, effectively changes the entire look and feel of a smartphone with virtualization,” writes Kevin Tofel of GigaOM. “When in “enterprise mode”, the phone signs into an employee account and only shows workplace apps, contacts and data. Another tap can pause the virtual machine for work and revert back to the native, personal handset.”
Long term, this could go even further, writes Timothy Prickett Morgan of the Register UK.
“[A]t some point, it is reasonable to assume there will be a phone with as many numbers and personalities as you have members of the family, and people will grab a phone off the sideboard table where you pile up the junk mail just like you pick an umbrella out of the stand right next to the table when it is raining. The first person to leave every morning will get the best phone, but they will be interchangeable.”]]>
That’s probably how it feels for EMC now that Dell has finally ended a ten-year relationship (two years early) where Dell sold EMC storage hardware, as Dell increasingly became a storage player in its own right.
“We’ve grown apart,” Dell said. “I needed to feel like I could be my own person.”
Well, okay, not really. “Over the past few years, Dell has grown to become a robust storage technology provider with differentiated capabilities across several product families, including Compellent, EqualLogic, PowerVault, and Dell / EMC,” is the way the company actually put it, on what used to be the Dell/EMC product page.
Dell bought EqualLogic in 2007, and Compellent in 2010 — spending a total of $2 billion on storage acquisitions — after starting its partnership with EMC in 2001. Other acquisitions included Exanet for scale-out NAS technology and Ocarina for data compression and optimization, as well as making its own DX6000 object storage hardware, partnering with Caringo for the software. The company also reportedly said that its own storage properties provide almost 80 percent of its storage revenues and 90 percent of its profits in the second quarter of this year.
Dell also said it planned to spend an additional $1 billion this fiscal year to strengthen its storage offerings.
Dell promised it would continue to be a good parent for the children — that is, that it would continue to support the EMC hardware. However, when people want to upgrade that hardware, they will be offered Dell storage products.
EMC asked that people respect its privacy during this difficult time. Well, not really. Actually, it had no comment.]]>
The results aren’t so very different from Symantec’s survey last month — though, frankly, the ESG survey isn’t as statistically rigorous; it surveyed only 48 general counsel.
The following are some of the conclusions ESG came up with.
The project is to manage the Electronic Records Archive, and is intended to ensure the transparency of government documents, allowing broader citizen access to public records. The project was started in 2001 to preserve and provide both internal and external electronic access to the records. But it had its problems, noted Elizabeth Montalbano of Information Week:
NARA began working on the digital archive in 2001 and in 2005 awarded Lockheed Martin a $317 million contract to develop it. However, the project has not been without its troubles along the way. Earlier this year a report by the Government Accountability Office found that the project likely will cost $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion, exceeding its estimated cost of $995 million by 21% to 41%. The report cited poor project management as the reason for the soaring costs.”
In fact, due to its inclusion on in the GAO report, NARA cut some of the functionality from the project in February and decided to do no new development past September, which is what enabled IBM to get an O&M contract after the contract with Lockheed ended on September 30, the end of the federal fiscal year — about a year earlier than planned. Originally, NARA had had a sixth option year on the Lockheed Martin deal for development, and a seventh year for operations and maintenance, FederalNewsRadio.com reported.
The project was officially launched in April, particularly with what were called three “pathfinder” agencies, so-called because of the amount of requests those agencies received: Justice, Health & Human Services, and State. 27 other agencies were supposed to start bringing their records online by the end of November, while independent agencies were supposed to start bringing their records online in July, FederalNewsRadio.com noted.
But IBM’s role will be more than just maintenance and operations. An agency spokesman said that IBM would be adding functionality to the system through a series of work orders and other enhancements — in particular, improving the search system, the spokesman said.]]>