Does the US-China Trade War Affect Your Storage Strategy?

Server cabinets flashing the US flag next to server cabinets flashing the China flag

Posted on Thursday, July 11, 2019

Although intended to help local businesses better compete on the world stage, international tariffs and trade bans are also known to create unintended consequences. And by including storage array manufacturer Huawei on the tech export block list, the US government may be creating a problem for US business, too. 

Due to come into force in August, the export ban will prevent Huawei and 70 of their affiliates from buying US software and components unless there is a valid export license in place. This means that once Huawei have exhausted their stocks of CPUs, SSDs, DRAM and disks, they will have to halt production of certain storage product lines until replacements can be sourced.

A genuine strategic risk

The threat to supplies isn’t just a worst-case scenario either. Huawei has already been forced to delay launch of their latest Matebook model. If the export ban continues for an extended period, Huawei has stated that the notebook computer may never be released. 

The situation is clearly serious for customers. Any business with a storage strategy built around the Huawei technology stack will need to develop a back-up plan, just in case the export ban does begin to cause serious supply chain problems.

Customers will almost certainly have to delay upgrades, keeping existing arrays in place for longer than originally planned. They will then have to seriously consider a change of technology stack if an end to the trade war is not quickly reached. 

A significant problem

According to the most recent market share statistics published by Huawei, they are the world’s third largest vendor of servers and data center switches. They ranked sixth for storage market share.

With this in mind, the tech export ban could have serious implications for businesses across the world.

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