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Hardware Hacking

Submission + - What to do with a hundred hard drives? 3

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 that most all 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 speeds, but the one commonality is they're all IDE.

In the Slashdot community's opinion, 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 that have crafted their own home-brew AoE systems? Could they scale to 100 drives? Is there a better way?"

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