Western Digital lost 6.5 billion gigabytes of flash storage at the worst possible time (for you)

Western Digital

If flash memory wasn’t already pricey enough before, it may get even more expensive now.

According to data storage manufacturer Western Digital, the company has lost 6.5 billion gigabytes of flash storage due to contamination during production. Converted to other storage units we’re looking at around 6.5 exabytes or 6.5 million terabytes. That’s a lot of flash storage. 

The cause of the contamination is currently unknown. The issue was first discovered late last month at two Japanese manufacturing plants that produce NAND chips run by Western Digital’s partner, Kioxia.

So, how does this affect you?

According to market research company TrendForce, Western Digital makes up about 30 percent of the total flash storage market. The firm says that this contamination can cause the price of NAND, which is the main component in faster and newer solid-state drives (SSDs), to skyrocket by 10 percent.

The timing of this contamination could not be worse for consumers. Supply chain problems combined with other issues, such as cryptocurrency mining, have caused shortages for all kinds of computer components. Along with graphics cards and processors, data storage like hard drives and SSDs have also been hit hard, causing prices for consumer products to rise and the products themselves to be difficult to find.

As of now, it’s not clear if any products that hit the market were affected by contamination or if any recalls will be necessary. In a public statement, Western Digital said its currently working towards resuming production at its facilities.