If you want to see the concept of supply and demand in action, look no further than today’s storage and memory market. You may have heard rumblings about a dearth of enterprise SSDs in the offing, and those rumblings have come to pass.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan on purchasing enterprise SSDs or server-grade memory in the next 4-6 months.
NAND flash memory is at the heart of the issue. NAND (not an acronym; it stands for “Not And”) chips are mostly made at a few large scale fabrication facilities commonly referred to as “fabs”. These fabs are set up to produce certain types of chips. Every so often, these production lines are re-tooled to start making the next generation of chips. This essentially shuts down production which, inevitably, incites a land grab for existing stock. The switch from 2D planar NAND to 3D V-NAND is well underway and production lines are in a deep slumber. Months ago, OEMs began squirreling away SSDs and memory to ride out the changeover. Most OEMs bet short and are now having trouble fulfilling orders.
We’re seeing lead times of 60-90 days for systems with certain SSDs. Currently, we are using alternate procurement channels to rapidly fill orders of SSDs. However, there are no guarantees this will continue to be feasible. The price of enterprise SSDs has risen approximately 20%, although we don’t expect it to climb much higher. The price of Server Grade Memory has also increased, although not quite as much.
In the short term, if you have plans to purchase systems with enterprise SSDs (read: servers), you should plan for additional lead time.
Alternately, there are some configurations which are more readily available. Depending on your workload, we may be able to recommend drive models which will satisfy your requirements.
As always, we maintain inventory levels to rapidly replace failed equipment, including SSDs. This shortage does not affect our ability to meet our high standard of existing service.
We expect this trend to continue into the third quarter of this year. It takes several weeks for NAND chips to be integrated into their final OEM products. This means even once the flow of NAND chips has resumed, it will take several more weeks before your product is stocked on shelves.
If you have any questions, please let us know.