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Thailand floods made huge impact on server industry in 2011

The weather in the past few years has been extraordinarily catastrophic. From Hurricane Katrina to the recent floods that swept through Thailand, countless industries all over the world have been significantly damaged by consequent disruptions in supply manufacturing and distribution. More specifically, the Thailand floods halted a potential surge in the hard disk drive and server industries.

Gartner Inc. recently estimated that the number of servers that were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2011 was about 10 to 15 percent less than what would have been had the floods not hit Thailand. In that time frame, Gartner analyst Jeff Hewitt said that 2.5 millions units were sold, which was a 4.5 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2010. But as the "Big Data" boom has hit the IT industry, the demand for digital storage units in late 2011 spiked dramatically compared to the year before. Hewitt said that despite the increase in sales, server unit shipments fell short of the demand by approximately 200,000 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Similar problems may become more common in future years, Scott Mandia, a founder of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team, told ComputerWorld. He said that the planet's wettest year on record was 2010, followed by 2011.

Whether climatologists' predictions are accurate or not, businesses shouldn't rely on in-house servers that have irregular availability, and in addition to installation and hardware costs, require routine maintenance. Companies that need to store substantial quantities of data should talk to a telecommunications consulting agency that can explain how a remotely hosted data storage and backup system using cloud computing technology may be a practical and affordable solution.