Western Digital, one of the largest suppliers of flash drives, just announced that 6.5 exabytes in capacity were lost due to contamination of materials at a facility it operates with partner Kioxia Holdings in Japan.
To put this into perspective, Reuters reports that one exabyte is equal to one billion gigabytes or, in other words, a very, very large number.
In a message posted to their website, the company explained the issue as well as their hopes to return back to normal operations as soon as possible.
Nonetheless, the size of the contamination plus Western Digital’s outsized presence in the market has some worrying that this could mean higher prices for solid-state drives, among other devices.
All of this comes in a general period of shortages across multiple industries, making this concern salient. After all, a factory fire some time ago caused components parts chaos for Nikon, Sony, and Canon. When this was combined with the general issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and, as we’ve reported on multiple times here, things either became more expensive or were canceled entirely.
For those of you that may not remember, it was bad enough to impact the companies' Black Friday shopping special plans:
“The factory in Nobeoka produces digital-to-analog converters, integrated circuits, and other components essential to many in the camera industry as well as some audio equipment manufacturers. FStoppers reports that the impact of the Nobeoka factory fire prompted all three manufacturers to adjust the specials they were offering for the Black Friday informal shopping holiday.
How long could the factory be offline? Many are indicating that it will be half of a year at a minimum before production is restored on some level with longer waits expected to bring the factory fully online.”
As for what caused the contamination, the statement from the company merely cites impurities in the material used though it is way beyond us to imagine how that all works. We’ll take them at their word for it.
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