Wiping drives advantages and disadvantages

Plug in 12 computers and wipe them

Imagine the time it takes to set up 12 computers with screens, keyboards and mice and then boot them up to wipe the hard drives and then go round each computer and install the operating system.

This takes time to set up, and run the wipe command and then install the OS. It also increases the electrical use by 12.

Buy a commercial eraser

The problem with commercial erasers is cost. It doesn’t take that long with an electric screwdriver to remove a hard drive from a computer and plug it into the eraser and let it do it’s work.

However, commercial erasers are expensive, with the 48 drive erasers coming in at around £10,000.

Build an eraser

A server built with a SAS card moves the drive management to the card, so it doesn’t swamp the motherboard when wiping drives.

A cheap 8 port 6G SAS card from Amazon for around £35.

You need 2 breakout cables that cost £9 per cable to break out 8 SATA hard drives.

Once connected to power, up to 8 SATA hard drives can be wiped at the same time per controller.

Once wiped, it is a simple matter of cloning an installed Linux Mint drive to 8 drives and all it takes is the drives to be reinstalled and change the value in /etc/hosts and /etc/hostname.

Although it doesn’t reduce the erase time of hard drives, what it does do is reduce the power consumption and the steps taken to wipe and install 8 computers to one computer. If you clone the setup, you can have two teams of volunteers working on computers and get them out the door quicker.