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Christmas Tree Made From 70 SCSI Hard Drives

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the free-time dept.

Christmas Cheer 248

Trigger writes "At our work we were decomissioning six old HP/Compaq servers to clear up space for new servers and, naturally, each server had a fairly large raid array. Instead of formatting every hard drive (would have taken weeks performing a DoD level wipe) and disposing them all together with the servers, I decided to disassemble the hard drives and recycle them into something neat. With a lot (a lot) of patience, I made this shiny Xmas tree. In total there are around 70 old SCSI hard drives, between 9gb and 18gb in size each. They were nice and chunky, oldschool style. There were quite a few different hard drive models, which is good because they each had different bits which I could use. The Xmas tree is made with parts from hard drives only except for one nut which I had to purchase for $0.39." It's good to see that this guy has plenty to do at work.

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248 comments

Had to - (5, Funny)

Colourspace (563895) | more than 4 years ago | (#26147955)

Fir post!

What are the plans after the tree is dismanteled (5, Insightful)

raymansean (1115689) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148047)

How did we go from DOD erasure to removing the platters to make a tree? The data could still be recovered in its current tree state!

Re:What are the plans after the tree is dismantele (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148227)

Only if you have root access.

Re:What are the plans after the tree is dismantele (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26149025)

deltree /y

Re:What are the plans after the tree is dismantele (3, Funny)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 4 years ago | (#26149099)

Does "dismantel" mean "take something off the mantel"? I'm going to dismantel my Christmas cards around New Year's Day.

Re:What are the plans after the tree is dismantele (1)

HalWasRight (857007) | more than 4 years ago | (#26149199)

You read my mind. The link is slashdotted so I couldn't check the details, but if he removed the platters from a DoD secure area without the blessing of their IA guy, then he should loose his job, and potentially has criminal liability.

Re:Had to - (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26149019)

Why is "Fir post!" funny?

I'd really be impressed... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148011)

...if he had made 2 trees to run in RAID 0.

Re:I'd really be impressed... (1)

elwinc (663074) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148119)

RAID 0 - isn't that also called "Just a Bunch of Disks"? I really think the guy implemented JBOD!

Re:I'd really be impressed... (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148539)

RAID 0 is Mirrored JBOD is not.

Re:I'd really be impressed... (1)

tabrisnet (722816) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148637)

RAID0 is striped, and has _zero_ redundancy. RAID1 is mirrored.

It also can be made to act as if striped for reads, but not for writes (you can interleave the reads across the discs, plus or minus seeks). Of course, RAID0 has more capacity than RAID1 for the same number of discs, but RAID1 isn't about capacity as much as it is for reliability.

Re:I'd really be impressed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148657)

Wrong.

It's amazing how little people know about RAID...

Re:I'd really be impressed... (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148889)

It's amazing how little people know about rectal surgery...

just sayin... to each their own.

Re:I'd really be impressed... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26149109)

It's amazing how little people know about rectal surgery...

Hey! It's great to see another Slashdotter with the same hobby as mine!

So, what are your views on anterior modifications of the Delorme procedure, which requires less operative dissection, I personally think it can be performed with results nearly equivalent to those of the established Delorme procedure in the treatment of rectal outlet obstruction secondary to internal intussusception with or without rectocele.

Or do you disagree?

Re:I'd really be impressed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148607)

No, JBOD is not "RAID 0". JBOD is simple volume spanning, no data stripping, no mirroring, and no parity. Multiple disks are accessed as a single drive, but they all act independantly.

RAID 0 (not an actual RAID level since there isn't redundancy) is data stripping w/o mirroring or parity. This allows for very fast reads and writes, but if any of the disks fail the array is tanked.

Re:I'd really be impressed... (5, Funny)

theemadnes (1058834) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148599)

RAID 0? For Christmas trees? Sure, it'd be mighty impressive, but if only one of the trees goes down, you've ruined Christmas for everyone.

Re:I'd really be impressed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148841)

I'm pretty sure that his implementation is more like raid tree.

One Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148039)

One comment and slashdotted already... anyone have a mirror?

Re:One Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148145)

Maybe they also used the server's drives for this project;-)

wrong picture? (4, Insightful)

Bob-taro (996889) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148061)

TFA shows a "tree" made of disk platters -- all shiny silver, no green. What's with the generic green xmas tree pic in the summary? Is that one of those "category" images?

Re:wrong picture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148089)

I was very confused by that too. I wasn't aware most hard drives contained sticks and light strands.

Re:wrong picture? (1)

trainman (6872) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148233)

Yes, because a picture of a Christmas tree is such a commonly used category photo on slashdot....

Re:wrong picture? (1)

calzones (890942) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148941)

looks like it came from a "very special episode of lost in space celebrates christmas a million miles from home"

Captain Obvious says: (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148071)

Posted picture is not the SCSI tree, you actually have to RTFA to see it

Re:Captain Obvious says: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148103)

Surely it should have been a SCSI chain, not a SCSI tree. Now I could understand a USB tree ... but a SCSI tree ...

Re:Captain Obvious says: (2, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148765)

Well I would ... but it's completely slashdotted.

Wouldn't it have been a lot easier to put the proper pic instead of that green thing.

This thread is useless without pics.... (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148073)

It would be nice if the picture attached to the story showed the actual tree. The site is barely loading....

Re:This thread is useless without pics.... (5, Informative)

whoisrich (1194797) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148135)

Found the link to the actual picture via another site: http://img399.imageshack.us/img399/7811/tree14zq5.jpg [imageshack.us]

Re:This thread is useless without pics.... (3, Funny)

MadEmperor (823313) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148223)

Thanks for posting. If that's the real deal, I'm not impressed. It's not even straight! Maybe he should have picked up some AOL Discs to make it full size.

Re:This thread is useless without pics.... (4, Insightful)

teslar (706653) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148337)

So you build something vaguely cone-shaped and because it's December, it gains +1 Christmassy? I mean, it's a bunch of platters stacked onto each other. I actually think it's pretty cool (especially the bottom part - gotta love the semi-chaotic shinyness. Not so much a fan of the top or the fact that it isn't exactly straight), but I wouldn't call it a Christmas tree.

In fact, if you scrape the Christmas idea, redesign the top and add more blue LEDs into the thing, you could just end up with a nifty piece of art that's for life, not just for Chrstmas ;)

Re:This thread is useless without pics.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26149087)

Blue LED's, cool...

Re:This thread is useless without pics.... (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148173)

The "tree" also rotates appa

Re:This thread is useless without pics.... (4, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148195)

Stupid Ajax. Curse it!

and the link I was trying to post: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Pam5qLu8CwY [youtube.com]

Re:This thread is useless without pics.... (2, Insightful)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148603)

The guy could have at least used some of the drive spindle motors to make it spin on its own.

Re:Spinning tree of death. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148869)

The guy could have at least used some of the drive spindle motors to make it spin on its own.

Yeah, I want to see it spinning at 15K.
(from behind bulletproof glass)

First post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148087)

Yeah, first post you bitches! Woohoo! YEAH!! *applauds*

I miss these days (3, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148091)

When people made creative things out of old equipment. Haven't seen a good set of Christmas ornaments or bling from outdated equipment for a while. Years ago it was everywhere. Burnt platters, melted CDs, old tape tinsel....ahhh geekmas.

Re:I miss these days (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148131)

...IBM card wreaths

Slashdotted already (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148101)

Merry Christmas Hosting Provider_01

Fascinating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148113)

So SCSI drives are actually made out of christmas trees ?

Yes, but is it Linux? (2, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148117)

With Linux as an OS for your tree, you could make the LED status lights blink in time with a Christmas song you had stored on one of the drives ...

Actual Photo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148151)

Here is the photo: http://img399.imageshack.us/img399/7811/tree14zq5.jpg

Jewtube? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148261)

Jewtube?

Stay classy.

Re:Jewtube? (2, Informative)

shaka (13165) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148661)

Parent is not flamebait, the author actually wrote that in the article. It disturbed me, too.

And "megamerican" can please take his conspiracy theories elsewhere.

Idle (3, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148265)

Another samzenpus classic article.

1. samzenpus seems not to know where the Idle section is.
2. Irrelevant photo in summary.
3. Slashdotted site for TFA, rendering article completely pointless.

Every time it's the same. Is there a way to filter stories to cut out ones from individual editors? Samzenpus' contributions are invariably poor. Did he used to work for Digg?

Jewtube? (1, Redundant)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148285)

In the post, he displays a bunch of youtube links and refers to them as "Jewtube". Did I miss a meme or is that supposed to be some sort of anti-semitic dig at YouTube?

Relevant cut and paste (since people are reporting the site as down now):

Jewtube videos, make sure you watch in high quality (below links are hq links)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pam5qLu8CwY&fmt=18 [youtube.com] - shiny outside video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7D2SfiYZwTM&fmt=18 [youtube.com] - pretty inside video, it's a bit dark but the leds make it look pretty as it spins

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soqL6ol3yIs&fmt=18 [youtube.com] - reflection of faces as it spins, somewhat trippy and very under-water-esque

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGyOcTHnBD4&fmt=18 [youtube.com] - night time reflection in the ceiling, spooky and very scary... mostly

Re:Jewtube? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148391)

Would it really have taken too much effort to rotate the first video by 90Â? Pretty poorly performed.

Re:Jewtube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148481)

Definately an anti-Semitic dig at YouTube.

"JewTube" is a reference used by the many, many nazis that infect YouTube.

The creator of the tree is more than likely one of those rather nasty sorts since he is using that reference.

I would personally delete this whole post as he is not deserving of good geek accolades.

Re:Jewtube? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148545)

Jew have a problem with him?

Re:Jewtube? (1)

JazzLad (935151) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148507)

Apparently jewtube.com is a real site ... doesn't seem to be anti-Semitic at first glance, duhno for sure though - looks like they have had a whopping 2 contributors to the main page, though ... either very small (and perhaps he was trying to draw attention to it) or more insidious that appears.

Re:Jewtube? (1)

Icegryphon (715550) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148703)

See *chan sites for pushing term it out into the main stream, like rick rolls, sage, and fail BTW SAGE in every field.

I like analog trees better (1)

krygny (473134) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148313)

That does not resemble, nor is it likely to be confused with a Christmas Tree.

Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148327)


You must have a lot of free time at work. What branch of the Quebec government do you work at? I'm in Licensing.

Lots of work to do (3, Funny)

Jeff Hornby (211519) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148335)

It's good to see that this guy has plenty to do at work.

As opposed to everybody else here who are so busy that they don't even have the time to look at Slashdot. Oh, wait...

FAIL (0, Flamebait)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148349)

Apparently the reason the original post contains a photo unrelated to the story in any way is that the ACTUAL photo that goes with the story looks like a sloppy pile of garbaged stacked with the care of an autistic child told to put away his toys before he can have cake.

Re:FAIL (4, Insightful)

skammie (802503) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148427)

Actually, most autistic kids stack things very neatly and precisely. So no need to further heap insults on autistic children by comparing them to this guy.

Mirror (1)

mr_stinky_britches (926212) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148381)

here you guys go.. http://whaleinacubicle.com/hdd_christmas_tree/ [whaleinacubicle.com].

Sorry it is so rushed, gotta catch a flight..

happy holidays.

WTF? (0, Offtopic)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148565)

happy holidays.

What's that all about? It's Christmas isn't it? I really hate this PC crap, my Brother-in-Law (Muslim) doesn't say happy bloody holidays at Eid.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148647)

Happy Hanukkah

Re:WTF? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148821)

There are holidays other than Christmas, hence the plural form. Back before Christians stole it, like they do everything else, the holiday was the winter solstice. It was a time of giving gifts and lighting candles.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148979)

happy holidays.

What's that all about? It's Christmas isn't it? I really hate this PC crap, my Brother-in-Law (Muslim) doesn't say happy bloody holidays at Eid.

So, do you wish your brother-in-law Merry Christmas?

Question: are hard drive internals poisonous? (1)

CPE1704TKS (995414) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148605)

I have 15 hard drives that I've collected over the years, and I want to get rid of them. I tried wiping them clean using sdelete from sysinternals, but this is really, really slow, and I'm not certain of how good that will work. Afterwards, for each hard drive, I connected it to my computer using a USB conversion kit, then as I copied something to the drive, I took a hammer and smashed it while it was writing until it made very weird noises.

Unfortunately, this isn't good enough for me, so I started disassembling the hard drives, and physically bending the platters, as well as taking the strong magnets located in the arm, and using that to hopefully wipe out some of the magnetic data stored there.

My question: do the internals of hard drives contain some sort of chemical that I should be concerned about? I have about 15 of these drives I want to destroy, so any exposure to chemicals might be a lot.

Re:Question: are hard drive internals poisonous? (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148643)

I take 'em to the rifle range... not much can be recovered after a bunch of 30 caliber holes appear in it... Heck, once there were some guys playing with tannerite... impressive boom!

Re:Question: are hard drive internals poisonous? (4, Funny)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 4 years ago | (#26149107)

I take 'em to the rifle range... not much can be recovered after a bunch of 30 caliber holes appear in it...

You'd be surprised at the lengths to which the RIAA will go to gather evidence.

Re:Question: are hard drive internals poisonous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148763)

you did not destroy them enough. I can still read them.

melt them in a smelter. only way.

Drill a hole in the plater and microwave it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148917)

Why not just use a 12V drill to make multiple holes on the platter, and then microware the whole thing??? Works for me.

Re:Drill a hole in the plater and microwave it. (1)

CPE1704TKS (995414) | more than 4 years ago | (#26148939)

What about all the dust that is generated from drilling it? I'd rather just disassemble it and bend it, and then toss it in the dumpster. Hopefully if someone comes across it, the platters will have been mangled enough to make the data unreadable.

Re:Question: are hard drive internals poisonous? (1)

jweller (926629) | more than 4 years ago | (#26149105)

multiple writes of the entire drive with random noise is considered to be pretty good. I don't believe that the average joe who wants to just steal your CC nums has access to the equipment or the knowledge to recover data from the drives in that scenario. Even less likely if you come up with some sort of mechanical destruction. I know it takes a while to do those multiple writes, but I'd just set up an old machine to do it.

I would hit the platters with a belt sander. Wear a dust mask. Another option would be to run a bead along them with a welder. I know my MIG machine will render magnets non-magnetic, so I have to guess that it would be pretty effective at demagnetizing the platters as well.

Re:Question: are hard drive internals poisonous? (5, Informative)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 4 years ago | (#26149137)

a) 15 drives isn't a lot.
b) If there were any volatile chemicals, they would have left long ago, by heating in an unsealed chamber (drives are NOT sealed to the air! If they were, the cases would rupture.)
c) If there were any loose chemicals, they'd have moved around in the case and screwed things up.
d) How deleted do you need your data? Do you actually know?

Realistically, you're looking at hard metals and hard ceramics. Are you eating parts from your hard drives? If not, then you've practically got nothing to worry about.

Sdelete can be quite thorough--far moreso than dismantling drives and bending platters. Specifically, "SDelete implements the Department of Defense clearing and sanitizing standard DOD 5220.22-M..." Is that good enough for you? Do you know if it is?

I'm always slightly aggravated by people who say, "I need to destroy the data on this drive, but I didn't bother to learn how well software wipes work, so I decided to ignore all of the known data and invent my own procedure based on what I think would be a good idea."

Ask the important questions: What is the sensitivity of the data (i.e. how would your life be affected by its compromise--identity theft? divorce? jail?) and what is the desirability of it (how hard would someone work to find it)?

If you're producing kiddy porn or selling state secrets, then both of those factors are extremely high, and you should be investigating thermite. If they're tax returns and account spreadsheets from the past 15 years, then sdelete is probably overkill if used correctly (which can only be done IF YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH!). Maybe you're a doctor with patient records--consider hiring a professional data destruction service.

Bending platters and wiping magnets across them is haphazard, undocumented, unreliable, and unlikely. The only reason to dismantle a drive is to scavenge the parts, not wipe the data.

As an aside, anyone with sensitive documents that would affect others (i.e. doctors) has a moral responsibility to learn a sufficient amount about this stuff to deal with it properly.

Does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26148997)

"imagine a beowolf cluster" apply for diskspace...?

Must be the BOFH (3, Funny)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 4 years ago | (#26149009)

Instead of formatting every hard drive (would have taken weeks performing a DoD level wipe) and disposing them all together with the servers, I decided to disassemble the hard drives and recycle them into something neat... The Xmas tree is made with parts from hard drives only except for one nut which I had to purchase for $0.39.

Sounds like you already had a nut - the one building the tree. I'm guessing you either:

  • grossly exaggerated the business requirement for a DoD-level wipe; or
  • have BOFH-style job security; or
  • better polish up your CV once your boss realises what you've done

DoD level wipe (1)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 4 years ago | (#26149165)

Can't read the slashdotted article, but from the youtube video it looks like, instead of properly disposing of your DoD data, you put it in your front yard where anyone could snag a platter unnoticed and then announced your "accomplishment" on Slashdot so everyone can go find your data.

How did you get this job? Somebody call Security.

Hmmmm... DoD Compliant Use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#26149173)

I am pretty sure (as most industrial level data recovery clean rooms could still pull data off those platters given enough time) that the DoD would not be pleased to see that sitting in someone's residence :p

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