When I first came here.....
.....this was all flood plain. Everyone said I was daft to build a hard disk plant on a flood plain, but I built it all the same, just to show them. It flooded......
There is an eerie calm inside Western Digital's flooded hard disk drive plant near Bangkok. It has been transformed into a silent lake. Photo images sent to us and posted on Facebook show the plant rising out of a sea of floodwater. Here are three of the images. First, the approach to the plant: Click to enlarge Closer to …
"When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp."
Supposing the savings paid for the risk by already adding more than the cost of the delay and the rebuild, especially when you allow for relevant insurances and premiums, then it's quite possible that nothing went wrong.
After all, nobody was hurt and hard disks remain generally available.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but irrelevant as we can't go back in time.
As they are having to evacuate half of the capital at the moment, it clearly shows that this is an extraordinary weather event and not just a little bit of rain. Clearly extraordinary events are more difficult to prepare for, especially if you are a developing country.
I'm not saying that the Thai authorities are completely blameless in this, but I think we need to cut them a bit of slack.
All the building in this area is on flood plain, behind flood defences that the envionment agency are keen to stop maintaining. Planning of course approved by the council. Its all very short sighted. I can't quite understand how the UK government continues to allow new building on flood plains. it is very short sighted given recent flooding incidents in the past few years.
On Monday I ordered 3*2TB Seagates from a regular supplier and they accepted the order. They were shown as in stock.
Later that day they were shown as out of stock.
Yesterday they emailed me saying there'd be a delay.
Today they emailed me saying they couldn't get 'em at all.
Meethinks they went straight under the table at the importers, to be sold at inflated prices later.
I'm pretty sure most (if not all) the readers/commentors of El Reg feel sympathy for the workers and their plight, but the cracks about floodplains are hardly aimed at them, it's more aimed at the management types who agreed to build a high tech factory on a floodplain. You know the management types I'm talking about, the ones that are probably still being paid a wage and associated benefits while the office is underwater while their subordinates are left wondering how they will feed their families tomorrow.
*** DEGAUSS SCREEN FOR WAVE EFFECT***
Bean Counter "You know you guys wanted a new factory?"
Non bean counter "Yea"
Bean Counter "Well we are giving you one"
Non Bean counter "sweet, where is it?"
Bean Counter "Well not in the UK , Mainland Europe or the USA like you wanted. No we found a nice little plot of land in the Far East our field agent said the land is cheep and the women are very friendly there is a teeny tiny problem though."
Non Bean counter *through gritted teeth* "Go on..."
Bean Counter "There is a teeny tiny microscopic problem of massive flooding at some point, that could cause a massive spike in the global cost of hard drives but that shouldn't concern you".
At this point the non bean counter seeing how this was going, reach over to his phone an rang 3534 (The BOFH emergency service number), 30 seconds later 1 Taser induced "KZZERT" a heavy roll of carpet and a bag of quick lime later the world was saved from this mess.
*** DEGAUSS SCREEN FOR WAVE EFFECT***
We can but deam, we can but dream.
Not only the disk drive industry, but Sony and Nikon's DSLR plants are underwater too.
Seems to me, looking at various photos of flooded factories, that all these companies would have needed to do to prevent 80% of the problem with ruined machinery/inventory was simply to install all the equipment and inventory storage on the 2nd floor.
Make the 1st floor a parking-lot, and as soon as the waters subside, back to business. (Well, except for the issues with other local infrastructure and parts suppliers)
Maybe we should remind you that hundreds of people lost their lives and 700,000 homes have been flooded, not to mention all the people without a place to work after 14,000 factories closed. And the flooding isn’t over. Believe it or not WD’s main concern right now is to look after its 37’000 employees; we are the largest foreign employer in Thailand .
There are MANY industries in the area, including high profile ones like automotive. I just heard that Toyota closed a factory in the U.S. for a while because it cannot get the parts it needs, which are manufactured in the flood plain (that hasn’t flooded for more than 50 years).
Your article suggests that WD Thailand went into hibernation – quite the opposite is the case; we moved most equipment to higher areas, we got help from the Thai Navy to move equipment away in boats, ship some of it to Malaysia in order to ramp up our facilities to full production over there etc. etc. As an industry expert you should know better that the WD management is doing everything humanly possible to provide solutions to the situation – it is actually ridiculous to think that Jo hn Coyne and Tim Leyden fell into an “eerie silence” and that the water is pounding on expensive equipment – the guys are working 7/24.
Maybe you could post this link about the Thailand flood recovery efforts we are making:
Perhaps with your infinite power of the pen you could influence some good? If you need additional info let me know.
WD's Head of Public Relations EMEAI, Munich, Bavaria, Germany
.. you already have the building in place for a water-cooled data centre.
The worst about this is the gazillions of people out of work across the whole country. And I'm wondering if this will affect the harvest, I hope not because that's an absolute disaster waiting to happen :(.
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