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Western Digital to lose out on 6.5 exabytes of flash storage following production line contamination

Western Digital’s SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2.

Western Digital has announced that two of its manufacturing facilities in Japan were contaminated, which has affected production and will result in a shortage of ‘at least 6.5 exabytes in flash storage availability,’ according to Reuters. For context, one exabyte is equivalent to one billion gigabytes.

Western Digital doesn’t specify what products will be affected by this shortage, but its flash storage options include hardware under its SanDisk Professional (formerly G-Technology), SanDisk and WD brands.

All hardware featured in this image, aside from the ‘WD Purple Pro’ HDD, use Western Digital flash storage.

The two facilities affecting Western Digital storage production are run in a joint-venture with Kioxia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toshiba Memory Holdings Corporation that is credited as the founder of flash storage back in the early 1980s. According to Reuters, Kioxia is ‘one of the biggest producers globally of flash memory and solid-state storage, is a key supplier to Western Digital.’

Western Digital didn’t specify how the contamination of its facilities happened, but says it will be working alongside Kioxia to get the facilities up and running as quickly as possible. As recent as last year, Western Digital and Kioxia were in talks to merge, according to Reuters, but nothing has come of the negotiations yet.

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