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New Markets Stir Up Shifting Storage Sands

HDDs may be down, but they’re definitely not out … especially if you know where to look.

it and computer storage

One glance at the headlines and it would be easy to get caught up in the gloom and doom wafting around the computer storage industry. After all, it’s been some time since the analysts had any good news about global shipments of HDDs and other storage media.

“Weak Demand for Storage …” tops the annual report from IDC. “Global HDD Shipments Soften,” says Gartner. And it’s hard to argue. Sales of HDDs worldwide are off around 7 percent this year, a decline attributed mostly to the weak market for traditional PCs in mature markets.

But before we write off hard disk drives as just another commoditized casualty of technology disruption, we should look at some of the numbers behind the meta trends in computer storage. According to IDC, the global HDD downturn is being mitigated quite nicely by a 24 percent increase in volume shipments to emerging markets, namely Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Shipments of some 11.5 exabytes of storage to those regions helped buoy the $7.8 billion market for combined storage devices across the globe, analysts note. "A drop in midrange sales suggests weak demand is spreading to other parts of the market,” said IDC Storage Research Director Eric Sheppard. “[But] bright spots within the global storage market include growth from entry level storage and increased sales within EMEA and Latin America."

One reason for the continued strength of storage in emerging markets is the resilience of the PC business in those regions. While global PC sales have been hammered with annual losses of between 6 percent and 10 percent over the past several years, the emerging markets have bucked that trend and are expected to show growth through 2018, according to IDC.

What it adds up to is a dynamic world market that places radically different values on the same technology components. For business decision makers and CIOs looking to recover IT investments through remarketing of used HDDs as part of their IT lifecycle management strategy, knowing where the best value resides is key to maximizing revenue recovery opportunities.

The best strategy is to partner with an asset disposition expert who specializes in HDD value recovery and knows the lay of the land in the crucial emerging markets. Deep contacts and solid reputation in the places where HDDs still command the highest prices are the keys to successful resales. Just like in real estate, the remarketing of IT storage assets is all about location, location, location.