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Posts Tagged ‘Disk hacking’

SANtool storage diagnostic device (Pre-announcement)

April 25th, 2009 No comments

Getting close to releasing what I believe will be the new standard in storage diagnostics for sysadmins and service people …  Let me know what you think!!

The SANtool™ is a multi-platform portable storage diagnostic tool. The SANtool enables the administrator/technician to efficiently diagnose, test, tune, break and/or repair storage peripherals. Unlike traditional software diagnostics there is nothing to license, “install” or remove. Plug the SANtool USB Flash stick into a machine running a supported Windows or UNIX/LINUX operating system, and start using the software. The diagnostics are performed by SANtools® command-line program, (SMARTMon-UX), and controlled via a web browser over a secure (SSL) connection. All HTML, Javascript files, images, the embedded web server, and O/S-specific executables are included on the SANtool.  No java runtime, external DLLs, drivers, or web servers are required.

This is picture of the SANtool desktop

This is picture of the SANtool desktop

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Where can I get firmware updates

December 29th, 2008 1 comment

Disk (tape, autochanger, whatever) firmware is intellectual property, and is owned by the manufacturer and/or a particular OEM that purchases the peripheral from the manufacturer.

In general, don’t bother calling Seagate, WD, or any of the other drive vendors and ask them for the firmware update.  Unless somebody posts otherwise, it is almost onheard of that they will just send it to you.   You typically need to get that from the company that sold you the hardware.

Helpful places to look Read more…

How to change a disk’s block size

December 29th, 2008 No comments

With few exceptions, disk drives are set to 512 bytes per block, and operating systems expect disks to be formatted to 512 bytes per block. In fact, some operating systems and/or disk controllers won’t even “see” disks that aren’t formatted to 512 bytes/block.  Certain RAID controllers require disks to be formatted to 520 or 528 bytes/block.  EMC, and NetApp are two vendors that format their disks to use these extra bytes.  (In case you were wondering, they do this in order to increase data integrity, as the extra bytes are used for ECC.

I have gotten a great deal of calls from people who bought used EMC or NetApp gear Read more…

Changing the reported capacity of disk drive

December 29th, 2008 No comments

Disk devices that speak the SCSI protocol (SCSI, SAS, Fibre channel, and even USB memory sticks) have a built-in command designed to specify the drive capacity.    The block size and count is defined as mode page settings, so any software product that incorporates a mode page editor has the mechanism to allow you to change the capacity (or block size) of a device.

Why you might want to do this …

  • You have some older equipment running an operating system such as VMS, or certain RAID controllers that have an upper limit on the maximum disk size which they support.
  • You want to be really sneaky and hide information on a disk drive.   (Once you resize the disk, the “hidden” area is hidden from everything, including low-level formats, partition managers, and anti virus software).
  • You are trying to mirror disk drives, and while they are both advertised to be 146GB large, they have a slightly different number of total blocks.   As such, some RAID software won’t let you mirror the two drives.

Security warning — If you do not want to risk data theft, you should always insure that the disks in your storage farm report 100% of their actual capacity before running software to view the contents, or run a secure erase.

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