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Will wiping RAID 0 single logical drive work?

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Linda Ruiz

Will wiping RAID 0 single logical drive work?

I am wondering if my logic is correct. I asked this question on a security related forum but never got a response.

Problem: I need to wipe the hot swap drives from various proliant models (9.1GB, 18.2GB, etc.).

My solution:
Setup RAID 0 array with all same sized drives, no hot spare, and one logicial drive. Run disk wiping software.

1. Since the drives are basically configured as one huge drive then the disk wipe program should work and all bits should be covered by the wipe program.

2. I have two servers set aside for this purpose. The builtin SmartStart controller is used on each. Server 1: Proliant DL 380 Gen 1 (4 hot swap drive capacity). Server 2: DL 380 Gen 3 (6 hot swap drive capacity).

3. I am ignoring the quantum scanning issues for possible data recovery on purpose, they are not part of this particular problem.

4. Software used is Sourceforge's DBAN. All four options DOD, OPS2, Gutmann, PRNG run sequentially over a period of a couple of days.

Is my assumption correct that all physical drives in this giant logical drive will in fact be wiped?

Linda :)
Keith Romberg
Frequent Advisor

Re: Will wiping RAID 0 single logical drive work?

Why not just delete the array and fdisk each drive? That will wipe out the contained of the drive.

Linda Ruiz

Re: Will wiping RAID 0 single logical drive work?

In answer to Mr. Romberg's question - why not FDISK?

1. Policy requires wiping.
2. Don't want to end up on the evening news as so many others which had far more resources and they 'should have known better' (e.g. corporation's/government drives sold on ebay still contained data, etc).
3. I know the drive can be removed from hot swap cage and run as a plain old SCSI drive. I suspect it can also be read or the data recovered from that using special tools or just by mounting it.
4. Don't want someone taking it to a salvage place and attempting to pay someone to recover the data on it.
5. FDISK does not based on my research actually wipe the contents of the drive, it just wipes the header area which can be rebuilt using special tools. I have seen on at least Windows machines, FDISK not wiping data and old previous installations configuration data showing up in the newly FDISK'd, reformatted system.
6. My security friends keep saying WIPE the data. I do that even if the drive will be physically 'destroyed' because you never know how crafty our 'friends' and not-so-much-friends can be.

Linda :)
Honored Contributor

Re: Will wiping RAID 0 single logical drive work?

Hi Linda,

You are right about the ability to recover data from disks.

Your method should work OK but once you have the disks installed in each server for the first time, the raid controller may get confused, particularly with disks that were in a mirror set (i.e. one member missing now).

The first thing to do in this case is run a system erase via smartstart or booted from floppy. This will wipe the array membership details from each disk.

Once this has been done and you have reset date and time etc, your Raid 0 can be created and you can perform the wipe.

ERD Commander 2005's Disk Wipe utility is another tool which can be used to wipe disks from bootable CD. It uses a multi-pass U.S Dept of defence method to wipe them securely.

As you say, you can never underestimate the ingenuity of some people.

I hope this helps.


Linda Ruiz

Re: Will wiping RAID 0 single logical drive work?


Thank you for your response. Instead of using the SystemErase utility I have been merely using the F8 - Array Configuration Utility (ACU) that comes with the builtin SmartArray controllers (DL380s). I think that does the same thing as you suggest as I invariably delete all existing logical drives. Then I create a new logical drive. I do this anytime I start wiping a new set of disks (or move them to the faster server).

Thanks again, you are the second person on any forum who has attempted to answer my question and the first to provide additional info. You also reaffirmed my suspicion that reality can be stranger than fiction as we have seen over and over again when it comes to security issues and that you never can be too careful with respect to sensitive data.
- Linda :)