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i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

chimdi ifeakanwa
Occasional Visitor

i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

What is the best method to low level format the drives on an hp 9000 server
11 REPLIES
Patrick Wallek
Honored Contributor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

Why do you think you need to "low level format the drive..."?

You don't typically have to format drives in HP-UX. If you are adding them to a VG, you use pvcreate, then add them to an existing VG or create a new VG.
Andrew Rutter
Honored Contributor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

hi, there isnt one really!

you can purchase special software for data destruction and testing for both unix and windows platforms if you want to spend money, but nothing that will do the job for free really.

some adaptec cards that work in standard pc's or servers have a bios that allow you to do a low level format and may be your best bet.

you could do a media init in unix on the disks but this may render them useless afterwards too, as long as taking a long time to complete.

Low level formatting should not really be necessary anyway? why do you want to do it? its only needs doing if the disks are having problems and this can force any grown/growing defects of the disk to be moved to one side/basically bi-passed. so the disk can be used again without trouble hopefully.

If you do do any low level formats I would do some good read/write tests after each one numerous times to ensure the drives are good afterwards.

Andy
chimdi ifeakanwa
Occasional Visitor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

the server is being decommissioned, and before we do away with the drives, we would like to low level format it a couple time, then drill holes through it before shredding it in a chipper. The data on the drives are ultra sensitive
Torsten.
Acclaimed Contributor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

In this case I would decide to connect them to a windows or linux machine and use a special application for that purpose.

Hope this helps!
Regards
Torsten.

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Matti_Kurkela
Honored Contributor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

OK, so you need an easy method for a first wiping step before sending the disk off for total destruction.

Data disks are easy: with just the 'dd' command, you can overwrite the entire disk with zeroes from /dev/zero. If you have HP-UX 11.23, you can get fancy and overwrite with random data from /dev/urandom.

Attached is a script that will overwrite the entire disk first with zeroes, then with ones and again with zeroes. It should be fairly understandable.

For a system disk, you'll have to boot the system from a HP-UX installation media to be able to wipe the disk completely. Select the "recovery shell" mode, load commands "mknod", "ioscan" and "dd", then enter the shell mode. Then just make sure /dev/zero (or /dev/urandom) exists and use dd to overwrite the system disks one at a time. See the script for a syntax example.

MK
MK
chimdi ifeakanwa
Occasional Visitor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

Thanks for the tips and the script. i will try this out and get back to you. I really appreciate this
Patrick Wallek
Honored Contributor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

>>we would like to low level format it a
>>couple time, then drill holes through it
>>before shredding it in a chipper. The data
>>on the drives are ultra sensitive


Drilling holes through the drives and shredding them will destroy your data. I don't see the point of formatting the drive if you are physically destroying them.
Matti_Kurkela
Honored Contributor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

Pat,
a person qualified to maintain an ultra-sensitive data in a HP-UX system is not necessarily qualified to operate an industrial strength metal chipper - and his/her boss might not want him/her to risk injury by operating the chipper anyway.

This sounds like a defense-in-depth strategy: the entire procedure is designed to totally destroy the data, but overwriting/formatting the disks first reduces the temptation of the chipper operator and makes minor human errors in the latter stages of destruction mostly harmless.

MK
MK
chimdi ifeakanwa
Occasional Visitor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

thats not completely true. There was an incident where an agency was able to piece the data back from fragments of a destoryed drive. Low level formating the drives at least 150 times before drilling through the platters then shredding will give me the peace of mind to know that retrieving data from them will be impossible, or at least a challenge.
chimdi ifeakanwa
Occasional Visitor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

BTW, drilling through these drives will give me some much needed in the office fun. LOL
Matti_Kurkela
Honored Contributor

Re: i need to low lwvwl format the drives on hp 9000 server

Heh, my previous boss had on his wall a disk from an old mainframe disk pack (from way back when the disk drives were roughly the size of washing machines). When the mainframe was retired, the disk packs were disassembled, destroying the fine alignment between the individual disks of the pack. Back then it was understood (I was told) that even this alone made it very hard to recover data in any useful form from the disks.

Then the former mainframe admin group arranged a special event at a shooting range and used the individual disks for target practice. The disk I saw had bullet holes of various sizes all over it.

Once I heard my former boss tell the story to a Windows support guy: "You see that? That was how we removed viruses and other harmful data back then." :-D

MK
MK