back to article Seagate laying off 2,217 employees

Reuters reports Seagate is closing its Suzhou disk drive manufacturing plant in China, shedding a whopping 2,217 jobs. The 1.1 million ft2 plant was formerly owned by Maxtor; Seagate having bought Maxtor for $1.9bn in May, 2006. Stifel MD Aaron Rakers puts the closure in the context of Seagate wanting to lower its quarterly …

  1. Ben Rose

    HDD Market

    No major surprise, I was chatting to a friend only last week about how much of a mess the mechanical HDD market must be in.

    SSD has taken over in the 512GB or smaller market, essentially all new desktop PC/laptop kit comes with SSD. Which leaves the big data storage drives.

    I was pricing up a new NAS with 6 x 3TB drives, identical to the one I bought in 2014. I was amazed to find that the price would be £150 more for the chassis and that the drives hadn't dropped in price at all. In nearly 3 years.

    In previous times, I'd expect to replace drives with ones that are double the capacity for the same price. So I'd have expect 6 x 6TB drives for the same price as I paid for 6 x 3TB drives in 2014, but this just isn't happening. HDD manufacturers are introducing bigger drives, for more money, instead of the flagship drives being the same price and the older ones being reduced.

    Will the price per TB start falling again? Or will large SSD more cost effective before it happens?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: HDD Market

      "Will the price per TB start falling again? Or will large SSD more cost effective before it happens?"

      In a number of ways, large SSD already is.

      I'm not sure that SG/WD see how many feet high the writing is on the wall. Whilst mechanical drives are still more expensive than they were pre-2011 Thai floods (and with much worse warranties), SSD prices continue to tumble.

      For consumer use it doesn't matter that a 2TB drive can only write at the same speed as a mechanical one or have an endurance of 100 full writes under real world conditions. Consumer drives seldom exceed that over their operational life anyway and as soon as large SSDs come down to less than 3 times the mechanical equivalent they'll start selling faster than the suppliers can keep up. (I used to say 5 times for small drives but the multiplier hurts more for large ones)

      Right now 2TB drives start at about £450+VAT (Crucial MX300). £500 gets a samsung EVO and even "enterprise SATA" stuff like PM863 is only £650 (which is only about twice what a "enterprise" SATA mechanical drive costs) - and I'll happily buy a Samsung or Intel over a Seagate or WD even if it's a few percent cheaper.

      Yes, the fast and high endurance stuff costs more, but most consumers simply use this kind of storage for write once, read occasionally and the power savings alone start factoring into the overall cost of ownership, making "slow" ssd worthwhile.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They may be laying off 2,217 employees.....

    but I bet they find that the usable space they're left with is frustratingly smaller than anticipated.

  3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

    SSD didn't kill the Spinning Rust...

    In the consumer market... yeah, the SSD is more resilient to abuse. Drop an SSD from 2 meters, vs drop a spinning rust drive and see how they hold up. So the premium is worth it.

    In the enterprise, its all about two things. 1) Cost per GB. 2) Speed.

    With SATA drives... both have the same speed, with the interface being the bottleneck.

    With NVMe, you have a faster bus and better performance so that the flash/ssd wins out.

    Its NVMe that is killing the spinning rust in that portion of the market.

    At the enterprise side of things... its more of a question of power/heat and price per GB that are going to drive the extinction. As NVMe drives come down and more server models offer that as an option... you will see them taking over. Once that happens... you will see Spinning rust 'die' within 4 years. Note that even that won't kill it off completely. Tape still exists. ;-)

    1. Jim-234

      Re: SSD didn't kill the Spinning Rust...

      Your statement:

      "With SATA drives... both have the same speed, with the interface being the bottleneck."

      Is not specifically correct in standard usage scenarios.

      A good SATA3 interface Solid State Drive is hugely faster than a SATA3 interface hard drive.

      (Either 7200rpm or the few 10,000rpm ones that exist).

      Listing a fast interface link speed in Hard Disk Drives is for the most part a marketing gimmick as unless you are thinking about the little bit of data sitting on the drive controller cache, you'll be hard pressed to find a Hard Disk Drive that can provide even the full bandwidth of SATA2 for a continuous read or write operation.

      Most decent SATA interface Solid State Drives these days can get close to using most of the SATA3 bandwidth for sustained read operations, and that's before you take into account higher IOPS or lower latency.

  4. Gis Bun

    Probably where my 4TB portable drive was made. It died horribly in October taking with it years of music, video, software, etc.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "It died horribly in October taking with it years of music, video, software, etc."

      You obviously didn't care enough.

      Data you care about is backed up onto 3 separate devices (GFS) and they're in a separate physical location to the data in use when the backup process isn't being run.

      "Backups" on attached storage are just more disks for an aggressive script kiddie to wipe (Seen it happen to more than one ISP) and backups on portable hard drives sitting on the shelf over your desk are just another couple of lumps in the swag bag when a burglar steals your laptop (staff here have lost their machines AND backups in burglaries because of this)

      "Recovery" services for a dead 1TB drive start at £1500 and go up from there. It's much cheaper to keep backups than risk needing that service.

  5. Snar

    I wonder how long after the commercial demise of the mechanical HDD it will take to see the Omega DataMaster, Rolex OysterSpin Perpetual and the Jaeger-LeCoultre USB3 Classic...?

  6. Cypherdude

    No Big Loss Anyway.

    It's no big loss anyway. The quality of their drives is crap. They dropped their warranty from 5 years to 2 years in response. I bought 4 of their drives, 2 failed (Reallocated Sector Count errors), and I only got 1 replacement. I stopped buying their drives and bought WD instead.

  7. TheElder

    WD spinners

    Agree on the WD quality. I have one with zero reallocated sectors and 31,457 Power On Hours. That was to replace a couple of failed Seagates, IIRC. Also, they were not ones with the stolen Japanese capacitor formula.

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