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What To Do With a Hundred Hard Drives?

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the build-a-hard-drive-cannon dept.

Data Storage 487

Makoto916 writes "In five years with my current employer as the IT administrator, I've amassed a sizable cabinet of discarded hard drives; just shy of 100, in fact. All of the drives range in size from 20GB up to 300GB. They've all been stored in anti-stat bags, and spot checks of even the oldest ones show that most of them still work. Individually, they're mostly useless for our line of work, which is digital video production. However, the collective storage potential is quite significant. They are of varying size and speed, but the one commonality is they're all IDE. What is the best way to approach connecting all of these devices and realizing their storage potential? On a budget, of course. Now, I'd never use such an array for critical data storage, but it certainly would be useful as a massive backup array to our existing SAN that does store critical data. I have several spare and functioning PCs, but not nearly enough to utilize their internal IDE controllers; even with multiple add-in controllers, it still wouldn't be enough. Not to mention the nightmare of managing a bunch of independent PCs. I've looked into ATA Over Ethernet and there's a lot of potential there, but current 15 to 20 bay AoE cabinets are expensive, and single device enclosures are so rare that they're also expensive. Are there any hardware hackers out there who have crafted their own home-brew AoE systems? Could they scale to 100 drives? Is there a better way?"

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Thumper (2)

neccoant (3345) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785893)

A Thumper or Drivebox RAID system.

Re:Thumper (5, Interesting)

fuzzix (700457) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786221)

A Thumper or Drivebox RAID system.
Or you could turn 'em into Thom Yorke.. []

2 Words... (4, Insightful)

ElboRuum (946542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785901)

e Bay.

1 word: magnets (4, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786303)

Hard drives have very powerful magnets. 100 of them could be a hell of a lot of fun.

You could build a climbing suit for climbing steel, build a generator,....

Re:1 word: magnets (5, Interesting)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786519)

Even better, they're monopoles (Halbach Arrays [] ). Build your own maglev toys.

Bunches of small drives (5, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785913)

I doubt its worth using a bunch of old smaller drives.

between the power requirements and all the extra hardware needed to run them i would just sell them all on ebay and take the $ to buy a couple of huge drives, mirror and do iscsi with them.

Re:Bunches of small drives (5, Funny)

ElboRuum (946542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785961)

But d0000000d, yer missing the point. He wants to do something 1337 hAxXoRz with all these drives. I mean, really, selling them on eBay would be what the n0rmLz would do.

Re:Bunches of small drives (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786281)

Only people from AOL speak that way. Certainly no "hacker" ever did.

Re:Bunches of small drives (1, Offtopic)

Kraeloc (869412) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786307)


Re:Bunches of small drives (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786367)

Spoken like a true coward.


Re:Bunches of small drives (1)

packeteer (566398) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785977)

+1 about the power requirements...

Re:Bunches of small drives (3, Insightful)

daveywest (937112) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785979)

I don't think selling them on ebay is a good idea. You never know what kind of data might be recoverable.

Honestly, if you can't use them in-house, then keep collecting them and let your replacement deal with the mess when you leave for another job.

Re:Bunches of small drives (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786041)

If you use the software approved by the DoD for 'cleaning' you should be safe.

Re:Bunches of small drives (4, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786263)

If you use the software approved by the DoD for 'cleaning' you should be safe.

Who has time to do that on almost 100 drives?

I use the sledge hammer method myself. Hit it until it sounds like a maraca when you shake it.

Re:Bunches of small drives (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786341)

We do that many on a regular basis during server ( and san ) upgrades.

Re:Bunches of small drives (5, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786391)

Who has time to do that on almost 100 drives?

Probably a guy who is trying to figure out how to hook up 100 ide drives into a backup system.

Re:Bunches of small drives (5, Funny)

grommit (97148) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786411)

Who has time to do that on almost 100 drives?

People that don't actually stare at the screen the entire time a disk is being wiped.

Re:Bunches of small drives (1)

adioe3 (985284) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786363)

Why not? It's not that hard to shred all data on those disks and I honestly doubt people buying hard disks on eBay would go through the trouble ... Sell the damn things and venture into something you could use better ...

Re:Bunches of small drives (1)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786507)

DOD wipe them before selling them, and you don't need to worry.

eBay seems like the best idea.

Re:Bunches of small drives (5, Interesting)

wtfispcloadletter (1303253) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786047)

Yep, just not worth it. The magnets are worth more than the drives. Take 'em apart and sell or use the magnets. Destroy or recycle the rest of the drive.

Careful with the magnets (5, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786385)

Take 'em apart and sell or use the magnets

Just keep in mind these are *STRONG* magnets. When you take it apart the magnets may smash into each other. This could send particles flying away in a direction that, according to Murphy, is where your eyes are. I know this by experience, lucky for me I wear glasses. And if some of your flesh is between the magnets, it's painful.

hard diskus throw (5, Funny)

mytrip (940886) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785925)

spin around in a circle and see who can throw them the greatest distance

magnets (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23785935)

The magnets are fun to play with!

Re:magnets (how to keep them?) (1)

rduke15 (721841) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786201)

Yes, these strong little magnets are cool. I have a bunch of them and wonder how to keep them, so that they keep their strength.

Do magnets loose strength over time? I had the impression they do. But what factors influence this?

Re:magnets (how to keep them?) (4, Informative)

profplump (309017) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786487)

Generally speaking, time alone will not reduce the strength of a permanent magnet. Heat, vibration, magnetic flux, and other forms of energy exposure can weaken permanent magnets. But in a box in your cabinet they are unlikely to encounter any sufficiently strong energy source to have a significant impact.

Re:magnets (1)

Colz Grigor (126123) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786267)

The magnets are fun, and once upon a time I'd make wind chimes out of the platters. I tried that with a hard drive from about three years ago, however, and I found myself in a very displeasing and dangerous situation, surrounded and covered in shards of glass...

::Colz Grigor // A little bit wiser now...

If I may... (1)

TheSubAtomic (1305939) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785937)

I'll take em off your hands. Just toss me a message or something. If not, I'm smelling a fun raid array.

Not worth the trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23785943)

Man, just throw them away. You're going to spend
more time and money trying to cobble them together
than if you just built a mutli-terabyte SAN. We spent $8K on a 30 disk 6 TB SAN.

Re:Not worth the trouble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786007)

you spent $8K and only got 6TB? I am totally in the wrong business. Is there anything else your company needs that uhm... I can rob you blind over?

Re:Not worth the trouble (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786345)

You've obviously never priced an enterprise level SAN. The GP quite obviously works for a very, very, very large company and got a huge price break, or purchased a lower end enterprise/mid-sized SAN. Joe blow mid-size company would've have spent $30K or more for the same or less for an enterprise level SAN from Dell or the like.

Re:Not worth the trouble (1)

RickRussellTX (755670) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786401)

Keep in mind that probably includes redundant drives, redundant controllers, redundant fiber connections, redundant power...

Sure, you could build your own 6TB external drive array for $1000, but it would have redundant nothing.

Play dominos (5, Interesting)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785951)

Granted, you have a few less than others, but it's worth giving a shot []

Re:Play dominos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786189)

Aw man... I was going to post that :)

ROTFL! (1)

rdschouw (139250) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786297)

This really made me laugh!

I have actually two modded xboxes at home. They work great as media centres.

AUction them off (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785981)

to other employees, give the proceeds to Charity.

There really just a waste of company space and time.

Free Geek (5, Interesting)

paroneayea (642895) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785989)

Would be a super generous donation, but if you honestly don't have a practical idea, perhaps donate to your local Free Geek chapter [] ? Good drives at that size could help in the fight for bringing technology to those who couldn't afford it otherwise.

Re:Free Geek (2, Informative)

drspliff (652992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786211)

I'm going to have to second this, but probably more towards the charity side.

It's quite easy for computer recycling charities to get working computers, but because of data security policies at a lot of companies they are not allowed to recycle hard-drives. This means that a disproportionate number of computers to hard-drives float around until they're finally scrapped (which overall costs the charity more time, effort and money).

For example, I have a 9gb and a 26gb drive in my main development machine - with a few 40gb and 125gb drives waiting for me to upgrade to (80% /, 67% /home used so far) - without working drives it's next to worthless and unusable.

Re:Free Geek (1)

industrialvegan (974786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786333)

Yeah, agreed. Would be a super cool donation. My local free geek chapter will let anyone build a machine for free if they volunteer 24 hours of time at the store. For many people this is a great way to get a pretty nice decked out (as much as possible) system running Linux that they would not otherwise be able to afford. Granted, some of the machines are less than adequate for much, but at our chapter at least, they get p4's and up. In fact the last time I was down there they were even starting to get x86_64 machines. I say go for it. Just hope you can make people happy that the discs have been sufficiently wiped.

Seriously? power requirements are high to scale. (5, Insightful)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 6 years ago | (#23785995)

Ebay and use the revenue to buy a few very large size drives. Running a ton of tiny drives on standby all the time just makes no sense from both a power and heat standpoint.

sell em (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786009)


Earn a little extra on the side (3, Informative)

NoobixCube (1133473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786033)

With almost a hundred hard drives, the gold leaf discs inside them must really add up in weight. What's gold trading at now? $850 or something per ounce.

Re:Earn a little extra on the side (4, Insightful)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786475)

Gold leaf? Did I understand you correctly? The stuff that's 1/250000 of an inch thick, or the really thin stuff? There's probably not any gold inside the drives worth recovering--if it is still used in hard drive manufacture. I am struggling to find a reference for that, but I would expect it not to be the case. Gold is used increasingly rarely in electronics these days, as it's rather expensive.

100 ata hard drives? forget going green (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786037)

i can't imagine the power to run 100 hard drives. recycle the hard drives and buy a drobo, 4TB at your fingertips.

Re:100 ata hard drives? forget going green (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786351)

i can't imagine the power to run 100 hard drives.
Imagine no more!

power_to_run_100_hard_drives = 100 * power_to_run_1_hard_drive

I feel ya (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786049)

If I were staring at 100 hard drives and several unused computers I would have the same urge to make them do something cool/useful. But fight it and get rid of them to charity or ebay. You aren't using them because they are useless to you.

Target practice at a gun range. (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786051)

Seriously, disk space is dirt cheap these days.

You won't save much using those and may cost a lot more when you deal with replacing them as they die.

Re:Target practice at a gun range. (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786337)

the money you save powering them rather than buying a new setup would be lost in electrical expense over a year or a few years.

Don't bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786053)

Send them to charity, the recycling bin, or e-bay.
It is very unlikely that you can find an effective way to power them, control them, and aggregate them that would be cheaper than a couple of 1 Terabyte SATA-II drives from Best Buy for $259 each.

freeNAS (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786055)

freenas + old motherboard + all pci slots full of cheap IDE cards.

works great, dont bother with IDE drive size versus Motherboard/Bios as freenas does not use the bios.

I have made a couple of 2TB arrays from less than a couple hundred bucks and a bunch of free 250gb hard drives.

You can do a software raid5 which gives you some peace of mind.

Limited number... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786215)

Even if you could scrounge up a bunch of old Parallel IDE quad-port Promise cards (pretty hard to do anymore, they were pretty rare even when they were in production) you can usually only get a max of three of those cards to work in a typical legacy PCI mobo due to various chipset and hardware resource conflicts. That gives you 12 IDE ports on the cards, plus two on the mobo, and at two drives (master + slave) per port, you would have a max of 28 possible drives connected and that's it.

Better have a heck of a power supply to feed 28 hungry old legacy IDE PATA drives and some fans to keep them all cooled.

umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786059)

Have you considered Coraid's [] offerings? It doesn't matter how you slice/dice this problem... 100 disks will be expensive to link up. It might serve you a bit better to group the drives by speed and size then you can build individual boxen using various commodity components. You'll just need some add-in cards that support ATA RAID.

art project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786067)

donate them to an artist. some burning man type sculptors

with 1TB drives for $175, i cant imagine the time it takes to string together 100 drives would be worth it.

good luck tho

Give them away (4, Interesting)

WinkingChicken (559148) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786069)

I can't imagine the storage is worth the time to set up something that can use them all given new 500GB drives They are probably most useful in cheap USB to IDE enclosures as additional external storage - nice for convenient system backups, offsites, and extra storage.

shred them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786075)

you will just waste money on the power supply.

it's cheaper to buy terrabyte satas and raid them to do the same thing. i bet your array wouldn't even be that large.

we have ours physically shredded - that way security and utility are maximized as they are recycled.

Shoot them! (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786077)

They aren't worth jack except to you as playthings. You can't build up any worthwhile box to hold them, being IDE.

I take off the circuit boards and shoot them, then pick up the pieces for the trash. Got a half dozen waiting to be "wiped" as soon as I get around to it.

Not reliable, energy inefficient (1)

18_Rabbit (663482) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786089)

There are several good reasons not to employ these as a backup solution. Using lots of smaller capacity drives will use significantly more power than fewer, larger drives. Also, these drives are old, which increases the probability that they will fail as they move along the bell curve. Save yourself the headache and powerbills, and donate 'em.

Unpopular choice: (5, Insightful)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786099)

Destroy them. If they stored what you describe, you do not want proprietary information leaking out. Especially, if you are the one that is in charge of "doing something with said HD's". Safer to destroy them.

Of course, all slashdotters would say either build an array or donate. In reality, the company should keep the biggest for desktop usage and shred the rest.

Safer for you and the company in terms of liability.

They're worthless (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786105)

Sounds like a lot of them would be out of warranty and ready to die soon, they are useless. If they're under 100GB, throw them away ! That should reduce your pile of 100 to something more manageable...

Not technically legal, but (4, Funny)

cunina (986893) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786115)

Pry them open, remove those awesomely strong magnets, and stick them all over some douchebag's Hummer.

Re:Not technically legal, but (5, Funny)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786311)

Why would you give away perfectly good magnets to a douchebag when you can just as well key his hummer?

ATA over Ethernet (2, Insightful)

target562 (623649) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786119)

Oh, come on. iSCSI... ATAoE is one of those really horrible ideas that should have never made it out of some geek's basement when there was a standards-track solution already available. I'd take them apart and use the magnets for an art project -- and use money you've saved from NOT running all of those ancient drives and buy a few modern 1TB ones.

Rock concert (1)

De Lemming (227104) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786123)

With the low price of current new 1TB HDs, I think your project will cost more than buying new hardware (I may be wrong).

So I suggest building some enormous speaker arrays with the drives, as e.g. demonstrated in this video of Radiohead's Nude [] (the hard drive array kicks in around 1'40").

Building instructions. []
Another demo. []

Here's a thought... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786129)

What To Do With a Hundred [old] Hard Drives?
Get ahold of a .50 cal Barret and use them for target practice while calmly singing:

A hundred old hard drives stood up on a wall!
A hundred old drives on a wall!
Ninety-nine old hard drives....

How About Just a Dozen? (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786155)

I got a $20 enclosure with 17 drive bays in it, and a 300W power supply. I've got a dozen SATA drives, each drawing under 10W, and 5 EIDE, drawing under 20W each.

At first I just got a dozen SATA/EIDE USB slaves for $10 each, and plugged them all into a USB hub, with just the single USB cable stretching out of the case over to another full PC's USB socket. But that is so slow, especially when copying big music or video files between drives (and through the single USB cable to the CPU and back). Playing multiple media files to different terminals in my house is too much bandwidth for the single USB, too. Running 4 USB from the big enclosure to the 4 sockets in the server PC isn't much better, because it all goes through the same CPU and PCI bus.

So I got 3 Sabrent SBT-SRD4 [] 4xSATA controller PCI cards, because they were $25 each. But when I tried to boot them in a few different motherboards (pre-HP Compaq P3/1.2GHz, IBM P4/3.2GHz), none of them got past the POST to even start booting the OS. I want to use them with Linux, but with the failure to even boot I'm not hopeful about driver support, either.

I bought them from CompUSA (still alive, online only), which hasn't replied to (email only - no phone available) tech support requests. Nor has Sabrent itself. I'm not hopeful that they'll refund my money, since everything else about this transaction has sucked.

So what I want to know is what cheap motherboard (no need for graphics or anything else other than at least 3 PCI slots and 100Mb-1Gb ethernet) will work with these SATA cards? If they're really duds, what is the cheapest way to get 12 SATA drives controlled, even if they're not that fast, over to 100Mb/Gb ethernet? Either SATA cards + motherboard, or even a fat mobo with a dozen SATA ports. I'd even settle for just 4-8 SATA ports to get started. I'm talking under $200 if possible.

Ideas? If it works, then 8-9 of them should support the 100 HDs the original question was asking about.

One idea... (1, Interesting)

rcw-work (30090) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786165)

One idea I've been tossing around in the back of my head for a while is a backup-to-disk device which is kind of a cross between a tape library and a raid enclosure. It would emulate a tape robot and drives so that normal backup software could talk to it, and would just power up drives as they are needed and read/write to them. The advantages are that there is no expensive robot with moving parts, only a few drives need to be powered up at once, the drives will probably last longer if they stay off most of the time, "tape seeks" would stay nearly instant, and you don't need RAID controller ports for every drive you have (just a switching fabric for routing the ports you have to the drives you want to talk to.)

It'd probably only be practical with SATA or SAS (fewer wires and availability of multiplexing chips).

Maybe someone can do me a favor and steal my idea so I can buy some hardware like this fairly soon. :)

Sort them and build software raid arrays (1)

LoRdTAW (99712) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786191)

First thing I would do is sort them by their capacity. Anything under 100gb isn't really worth using as their capacity versus power consumption is poor. Either throw them out, give them away or sell them in bulk lots on ebay. Next thing to do is either buy multi port ata cards which are increasingly harder to find/expensive or get ata-to-sata converters and use multi port sata cards. Multi port sata cards can be had in 16 or even 24 ports and three or four cards in a single system could give you a serious storage platform. Plus sata equipment is cheap and esata enclosures, cables and adapters can easily be had for a few dollars.

Also consider ata-sata adapters will enable you to use a port multiplier that will split one sata port into five. On newegg you can buy a Supermicro eight port sata card for about $100. So with eight fan out bridges you have the ability to host forty drives on one card. Eighty with two cards in a single machine. It wont be a fast server thats for sure but it will do the job.

As for software I like MDADM on Linux but you want to scale up with iata or iscsi. I haven't used iata/iscsi but assemble your drives into arrays and get them up and online. Then install your iata/iscsi packages and get them talking to your servers.

There is huge potential... (5, Funny)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786203)

I think this is how Google started. Throw in some other random hardware and wait for the VC to come rolling in!

Rail Gun (3, Insightful)

WeirdJohn (1170585) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786209)

Pull them apart, and use the magnets to make a magnetic rail gun. Or some other fun game. There has to be a lot of fun (and destruction) in 200 ceramic magnets.

"Fling!" (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786219)


"I love my data!"

You won't get any hard drive space out of it... (4, Interesting)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786233)

But you could make a hard disk generator [] I've seen several designs and some are better than others, but there isn't a great way to string out hundreds of IDE drives without a cluster and multiple processors. After weeding out a number of the large drives for storage, it may be a fun project to mess around with.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786251)

I haven't given thought to the hardware side, and the logistics of physically connecting the drives, but once you do, have you thought of using something like VMware that will allow you to virtualize the drives into one (up to 2 TB per .vmdk) virtual drive? Then, using a VMware virtual machine you could then access the virtual storage. Dunno if this helps...

Hallway Drag Racers (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786253)

Give everyone some tools and some batteries, and see who can make the best drag racer out of the parts.

Send a couple to me! (1)

maharvey (785540) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786265)

I could use a 300 GB drive or two.

ZFS? (2, Insightful)

star3am (1151041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786273)

would be nice to see how they run with ZFS, figure it's as good a reason as any :p

Send me a few 300gigs (2)

Zorque (894011) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786283)

I'll put them to the best use there is: porn.

idea (1)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786285)

skeet shooting

off the wall (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786287)

there may be more value in the data than in the drive mechanism itself. you said they were used for video production...maybe there are some interesting outtakes or bloopers your employer would allow on youtube.

That's not old... (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786295)

I spent last weekend wiping a stack of hard drives I'd accumulated so I can be charitable. They range from 500mb to 15gb. Guess it's a matter of opinion (and needs, as you point out) what is "too small".

And Tumbleweed [ ], we can share the 1gb SCSI that sounds like a jet engine and 600mb Compaq IDE that clicks like a card in bike spokes... I haven't been skeet shooting since I was 15. :-D

SATA and port multipliers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786315)

You can use SATA port multipliers to put many disks on a single PC. Each port multiplier allows you to plug 5 disks on a single eSATA port. You can find cheap PCI SATA controllers with 4 eSATA ports. If you can find a PC with 5 PCI slots, that's a hundred disk.

Here are the ones I use on my NAS:
- port multiplier:
- SATA controller (PCI-X but works on PCI slots):

You also need one IDE to SATA bridge per disk. Maybe in bulk you can get good prices.

Dominos (1)

gbh1935 (987266) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786319)

setup some Hard Drive Dominos, and post the video on youtube.

Data recovery services (5, Informative)

Loualbano2 (98133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786321)

I would call your local data recovery service as they sometimes are interested in buying old drives of no particular size to use the controller cards on them.

Apparently, a lot of failed hard drives are not bad because of their physical platters, but because of the drive logic. These places need old drives for replacement controllers that you probably can't buy from the manufacturer.


Two Words (1)

macslas'hole (1173441) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786323)

Firewire ZFS Put them in firewire boxes and RAID them together with ZFS. IIRC firewire supports 64 devices per bus. I'm not sure if a dual connector card would have two busses or one.

Setup 1 machine and USB/Firewire them (3, Interesting)

IcephishCR (7031) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786349)

Pick the largest and buy up as many usb or firewire interfaces and drop them in a tower case with a psu for the HD's (get bus powered usb/firewire interfaces) and have a decent sized external array...

or use the larger ones as customer throwaways - when the video needs to go to the customer and its really big - ship them a cheap usb/firewire enclosure with a disc in it loaded with their video - if it doesn't come back then you've got more to spare....

Drobo, of course (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786361)

I think what you're looking for is something like the Drobo [] , but like me you would prefer it were a rack mountable 14+ drive enclosure. More like a cross between the Drobo and perhaps an Apple / Promise RAID [] unit.

Play around with the Drobo configurator on their website - it's interesting. Seems like four drives really don't open up the usefulness of their system. I'm sure the more drives there are the more effective it would be.

Options (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786373)

Giant domino rally



Probably not worthwhile (4, Interesting)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786415)

I'm actually thinking that it's a waste of effort. If they average, say, 100Gb each, then 100 drives means 10TB. 10TB these days is worth what? $2'000.00 worth of 1TB drives? Even less? More like $1'700.00 or so -- and that's for brand new drives, faster, better, more reliable, modern technologies, SATA, etc etc etc. Power consumptions too.

By the time you're done connecting all of these, and powering them, and cooling them, and dodging the broken ones, and finding a good use for it, and controllers to run them all, I can't imagine you'll be saving many dollars for storage, if any. Not to mention your time -- although it would be fun to spend.

So in the end, you'll have all of the benefits of a massive raid solution, but it'll be expensive to build, expensive to run, and take up a rediculous amount of world space (the real storage requirement).

I don't think they can compete as functioning hard drives. I think you should use them for some other purpose -- like art, or coasters, or to hold up your table.

For example, I have about 500 issues of national geographic from the 80's. They even have those file volume collection thingies so ten get held tegother as a set. I have some rediculous number like 50 sets. These things are totally useless to me -- unlike my nintendo power issues from the '80s that my mother sold about fifteen years ago -- so I got a piece of nice glass, and now have a coffee table that sits on these magazines instead of on legs. It's a nice piece of furniture from which you can reach in a pull out a blast from the past as you sip that coffee.

Google Do (2, Funny)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786419)

> Now, I'd never use such an array for critical data storage,

Why not - Google do for GFS. Indeed, I worked for a search engine company and wrote something that had significant similarities to GFS - that is, a distributed high-performance redundant file system. Of course, you still need a machine for every 4 drives, but it can be done. Still requires manual maintenance however - the chance of individual drive failure if you run lots of them becomes quite high (your data is safe due to redundancy). Look around the net for references to GFS and Google data centers.

Lets talk "deal" (1)

cdn-programmer (468978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786429)

I have more than 100 matchbox SCSI external cases also with drives. They need a home.

Be practical -- screw the smaller drives. (4, Insightful)

merreborn (853723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786445)

Why not just use the largest 10 or 20, and leave the rest of 'em in the closet for now?

Either your 10-20 drive pilot project will be a raging success, and your boss will be beating down your door to get the other drives plugged in, or it'll prove to be a huge waste of time, in which case you'll be glad you didn't bother with the smaller drives.

play with a clustered filesystem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786451)

Maybe have a go at a cluster filesystem. GlusterFS has been around for quite a while, however I have been using ceph stably for about a month now and it is amazing.. mind you it is still in the testing stages its worth checking out .

ZFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786491)

ZFS Pool them. Network them somehow.

Just donate them (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786493)

Just give them to Free Geek or some other community that could benefit from a bunch of halfway decent drives like that

Laptop Backup Drives (2, Interesting)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786503)

These sizes are still useful for putting in external USB enclosures and using as a laptop backup drive (with something like Ghost).

Make friends with a computer recycler (1)

multi-flavor-geek (586005) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786525)

Someone who for the trade of taking some of the other junk hardware off your hands (the company may pay a fee in here somewhere, but its the responsible thing to do) he will give you a stack of identical old hp's, with ata 133 cards for each, and even an extra nic so they can all be channel bound... Think of the power if you have 8 2 ghz hp desktops sitting in a channel bound stack with 8 drives a piece in them? Then just make all of them boot off the same linux image, or do seven hard drives and a modded Ubuntu live cd in each and your ready to rock!

PULL! (1)

Jager Dave (1238106) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786537)

Get out that 12-gauge pump shotgun, a bunch of shells, perhaps some friends, and head for the range....

trash them (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23786541)

Recycle them in some environmentally responsible fashion.

Old drives = worthless

Unintended Wikipedia humor: (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786543)

From the AoE link:

AoE specification is 8 pages compared with iSCSI's 257 pages.[citation needed]
uhh...the specs in question?

Imagine... (1)

A440Hz (1054614) | more than 6 years ago | (#23786545)

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of... Nevermind.
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